As a youngster, Stephen Zagorsky attended the same junior high school in Central Islip where his father, Eugene Zagorsky, was the principal.
"I watched him work," Stephen Zagorsky said, "and I was entrusted to some of the information on how things were organized." Son learned from father the reasons for the planning of certain classes and how some school policy was determined.
The son also learned a valuable life lesson. "His way was to always be prepared and then to always have an alternative plan," he said.
Eugene Zagorsky, a Central Islip Public Schools administrator for nearly 31 years, died Sept. 4 of heart disease at a Melville hospice. He was 89.
Zagorsky joined the Central Islip district as a secondary principal in 1955, family said, after serving as a high school principal with two upstate districts.
At Central Islip, Zagorsky took on additional duties, his son said, overseeing the opening of the new junior-senior high school and then the construction of two other schools, including what is now the Cordello Avenue Elementary School.
In the 1960s, he supervised construction of the Mulligan Intermediate School, where he served as principal and where his children, including Stephen, now an associate professor at Farmingdale State College, attended.
Other than the Central Islip schools, Zagorsky devoted most of his energy to family - his wife, Elizabeth, and their four children. The two met in Algiers in 1943 during World War II, he wrote in a Newsday first-person account that commemorated the couple's 61st wedding anniversary in 2007.
American nurses had just arrived in Algiers, and 2nd Lt. Zagorsky and several other Army officers were encouraged to welcome them to North Africa, he said in the story.
"One look and I felt like I had won a million-dollar lottery," Zagorsky wrote. "Her name was Lt. Elizabeth Liebermann, and she was gorgeous."
The two lived more than 50 years in Central Islip. Elizabeth, who was a school nurse in the district, died in 2009.
Zagorsky was an avid football fan, backing both the Jets and the Giants. He also enjoyed photography, racing pigeons and "was computer literate right from the git-go," his son said.
Survivors include sons Eugene Zagorsky Jr. of Flushing and Paul Zagorsky of Port Washington; a daughter, Karen Zagorsky of Riverside, Calif.; a grandson, and a sister, Dolores Nash of Sun City Center, Fla.