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Tammy Hendriks of Elmont: Giving teacher influenced the lives of many

There were multiple tributes for Tammy Hendriks after the sixth-grade math teacher and Elmont resident died on April 17 at the age of 50 due to complications from COVID-19. 

There was the drive-by parade organized by her school colleagues at the family’s home. There were the 100 balloons that were released at her funeral. There was the television story done by WCBS/2. And there were the calls, cards and remembrances from current and former students.

“My mom was the glue of everyone,” said her daughter, Ashley. 

The biggest tribute of all, though, may be the path Ashley has taken — a path inspired by her mother and her passion for education. 

Ashley, 24, graduated from SUNY-Old Westbury a month after her mother’s passing. Soon after, she was hired as a fourth-grade teacher at Stewart Manor Elementary School in the family’s home district. 

Hendriks' 21-year-old son, Justin, is an engineering student at Stony Brook University. 

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Hendriks, a Queens native, attended Molloy College, C.W. Post and the College of Saint Rose in Albany, earning two master’s degrees. She taught at IS 238 / Susan B. Anthony School in Hollis, Queens.

She made her mark as someone who would help her students in ways her family didn’t learn about until after she passed. 

“The school she worked at was right across the street from a McDonald’s,” Ashley said. “A lot of times being a teacher, you’re there unexpected hours. You stay late, you come early. She was like, ‘Oh, I’m just going to go and grab something to eat.’ She’d have a whole bunch of kids following behind her. They’d all eat. 

“A few of her students that she had years ago that are now entering college, they actually found me through social media. They’ve messaged me and told me different stories about ways in which mom helped them. It makes me very proud of my mom. I definitely had an angel on earth.” 

Hendriks, who loved to paint and draw, was also handy around the house.

“We called her ‘Bob the Builder,’ “ said John Hendriks, her husband of 30 years, who also noted another nickname for Tammy: “Santa Claus.”

“She was a giving, caring person,” he said. 

In addition to her husband, son and daughter, Hendriks is survived by her parents, Joseph and Glenda Khan, of Elmont; her sister, Jacqueline Ramos; and her niece and nephew, Jayda and Jordan Ramos, all of West Hempstead.

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