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Eric Chasanoff of East Islip: Earth science teacher was 'big on helping people' 

Eric Chasanoff was a teacher and coach in

Eric Chasanoff was a teacher and coach in Queens. Credit: Fran Chasanoff

Eric Chasanoff of East Islip is often remembered for his eagerness to help those around him.

“Any time we needed help from him, he was 100% there, even for the tiniest things,” said his daughter, Marissa Yen, 35, of California.

When Chasanoff’s grandson refused to learn how to ride a bike and needed a little extra coaxing, it was Chasanoff’s “calm, patient way” that finally did the trick. “Literally two minutes later, my son was riding the bike all over the place like he’d been doing it for years,” Yen said.

Chasanoff died on May 5 from complications of the coronavirus. He was 69.

Born in the Bronx and raised in Manhattan, Chasanoff earned his bachelor’s degree from Belknap College in 1973 and his master’s degree in meteorology from the Polytechnic Institute of New York in 1975.

Early in his career, Chasanoff worked for the Environmental Protection Agency and the City of New York. He then worked as a meteorologist at NBC and spent time at an environmental consulting firm before becoming an earth science teacher in Queens. He retired in 2019 after teaching for more than 20 years.

Throughout his career, Chasanoff was a fount of advice and support for his colleagues. He ran a blog called “Chaz’s School Daze,” where he shared his experience and knowledge as an educator, helping fellow teachers navigate everything from unions to pensions.

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Readers even called Chasanoff at home to seek advice. Though he often didn’t know the callers, that didn't deter him from lending a hand or an ear.

“If any teacher wanted to talk to him, he was willing to hear them out or explain certain things,” said his youngest son, Mark Chasanoff, 31, of Patchogue. “He was big on family, big on helping people, big on helping his friends.”

Chasanoff’s investment in others went far beyond the boundaries of his blog and classroom. In addition to coaching his children’s soccer, baseball and basketball teams, he coached varsity girls soccer at Jamaica High School. He would often swap out a star athlete in a game for a player on the sidelines to make sure everyone got to play.

“No one was ever a benchwarmer on my father’s games,” said his oldest son, Bryan Chasanoff, 38, of Virginia. “He always made sure everyone played half a game.”

Chasanoff also shared his passion for science with his children, taking them out at night to peer through a telescope at the stars and planets. He also loved spending time with his three grandchildren.

“He always planned activities every time the grandchildren came. If he didn’t like the beach and they wanted to go to the beach, he went to the beach,” said Fran Chasanoff, his wife of 42 years. “That was the type of person he was.”

In his spare time, Chasanoff loved sports, never missing a Sunday afternoon football game. He was also a history buff and enjoyed science fiction movies.

In addition to his wife and three children, Chasanoff is survived by his son-in-law Kevin; his daughter-in-law Rebecca; and his grandchildren Owen, Alora and Sophie.

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