Craig Lagnese, 37-year old biology teacher and president of the Teacher’s Association at , lost his battle with lung cancer on Nov. 19.
Lagnese taught ninth and 10th grade students in the Herricks School District since 1998 and was beloved by his students and colleagues.
A former student, Chris Longman, created a public Facebook page titled, “Thoughts and Prayers for Craig Lagnese” after the first word of Lagnese’s illness.
Students and colleagues shared memories and stories of their time with the teacher; some short with one sentence, others that take up paragraphs.
Past student Sachit Singal wrote, “Mr. Lagnese, I once read that God likes to have the best souls keeping him company in heaven, and I know that that's exactly what you're doing now. When Herricks was lucky enough to have you as a teacher, you became an inspiration to students inside and outside of your classroom. You will be forever loved, forever missed, and never forgotten. This message is in no way a ‘farewell’ — it's simply an ‘until we meet again.’"
Herricks Superintendent of Schools John Bierwirth, who was close with Lagnese on a professional level, remembered him as a wonderful colleague.
“We are all shocked and saddened,” Bierwirth said. He was a young man who had done a great deal with his life already and a lot more was expected of him over the course of his career. He was totally devoted to being a teacher, the director of the summer recreation program and being president of the teacher’s association. We are going to miss him a great deal.”
From what Bierwirth knows, Lagnese thought he had a cold or pneumonia, and when he was being treated for that, doctor’s found that he had lung cancer. The illness took him quick; and happened all too fast.
“It’s hard to believe that someone that age would be stricken this way,” Bierwirth said.
Lagnese is survived by his parents, Terri and Skip Lagnese, his brother, John Lagnese and his girlfriend and best friend, Linda Jelovich.
The wake service began yesterday at Fredrick J. Chapey & Sons Funeral Home in Bethpage and continues tonight from 7-9 p.m.
Bierwith said, “There were an amazing number of people at the wake last night.”
The funeral service will be tomorrow, Nov. 23 at 10:15 a.m. St. James R.C.Church, 75 Seamans Neck Rd. in Seaford, NY at 10:15 on Wednesday morning. A private interment will follow the church service.
In place of flowers, donations may be made to: Herricks UFSD for Craig Lagnese Scholarship. The donations can be sent to: 99 Herricks Road, New Hyde Park, NY 11040, Attention: Helen Costigan.