Mark Handelsman graduated from Wooster High School in Reno. His undergraduate degree was from the University of Nevada, Reno, and he received his law degree from McGeorge School of Law in 1975. He became a member of the Nevada State Bar that same year.
Mr. Handelsman was appointed a municipal court judge in 1985. He was honored for his work on the municipal court. He received the Nevada Distinguished Jurist Award in 1988, and was named Judge of the Year in 1990.
He served in that capacity until he was elected a judge of the Second Judicial District Court in 1990. Judge Handelsman was re-elected to the Second Judicial District Court in 1996. However, he died suddenly in December, 1996, at the age of forty-nine.
Sarah Johnson, a secretary in the Washoe County District Attorney's office, said, "He was a really nice man. He treated secretaries, support staff and attorneys alike. He treated everyone as human beings."
Second Judicial District Court Judge Brent Adams said Handelsman always conducted his court in a gentlemanly fashion. "He was a very gracious, fair and able judge who brought a tone of civility and decency in all the proceedings he conducted," Adams said. "He was a patient listener, he was steadfastly fair and impartial."
Washoe County District Attorney Dick Gammick called Judge Handelsman a hard worker who was always learning. "Mark was a competent judge," Gammick said. "He was open; always willing to talk about problems and ways to solve things."
Judge Handelsman was survived by a daughter, Hilary Handelsman.