A stellar teacher and writer in the constellation of the arts
BY JEAN COAKLEY
Chuck Anderson was the teacher you never forget, the one who caused you to think creatively and introduced you to the great writers of any era. He loved the written word, enjoying his own library and writing for the enjoyment of others. Anderson was a regular contributor to the Long Island Advance, writing mostly luminous features as well as touching obituaries about locals, but also news events. He was also a former editor of Fire News, a trade publication for the firefighting industry. Anderson loved hosting book-signing events at Painters’, his local restaurant, for the many little mysteries he enjoyed writing. His last book, “The Magic Tree,” was Anderson at his finest: a book of poetry.
Charles Bassett Anderson, a Brookhaven hamlet resident, passed away on Jan. 16. He was raised in Leonia, N.J., and attended Bucknell University, where he wrestled and played football. He tried his hand at business for a short time, but joined the faculty of Bellport High School in 1960 and knew he had found his life’s work. An innovative teacher, he foresaw the role of video in the classroom and, at Longwood High School, introduced the first school video department; it was so new, he had to write the textbook first. He served as department chair and, upon retiring from teaching in 1991, just went down the road to Suffolk County Community College, where he served as adjunct professor. Then came another career change: professor of literature at Hofstra University. Two years ago, Anderson introduced a course never taught before: Poetry and Physics, inspired by conversations with his son Gordon, a physics teacher. The class filled immediately.
“The essence of Chuck’s life was that he loved teaching,” said Rich Green, a longtime friend. “It kept him going until the very end. He loved the classroom, the back and forth with his students. And they thought the world of him; they bought his books, they gave him great reviews as a professor and they kept in touch.”
Anderson is survived by his wife, Judith, with whom he traveled the world; his sons, Donald and wife, Alicia, and Ted; and three grandchildren, Erin, Scott and Charlie. He was predeceased by his son, Gordon.
A gathering at Painters’ will be arranged in the near future. Further information can be obtained at Harp20@live.com.
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