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David Chassen
July 30, 1943 - June 10, 2001


Bill Scullin, Dave Chassen, (possibly) George Moerler.  We don't know the date but I would guess about 1951 or 52. Location seems to be Roosevelt Avenue near 80 Street in Jackson Heights.


Dave, Bob Brivio, Mike Byrnes, Brian Wickham, Al Saunders
at Mike Byrnes wedding - 1963


Dave & Allison (John Gerbino's niece) - Sunken Meadow, 1968


John Gerbino, Dave, Al Saunders - Quogue, L.I. Summer 1968


Dave at the Hampton Bays house - Summer 1969¢


Dave & Carmen - Central Park Sep. 1969


With Don Johnston - Dave & Sue's house, Jamaica, NY Summer 1975


Bill Geiser, Tom Ryan & Dave - Penn. July 1995


At Jim & Desnee Nestor's wedding - 1998


GOD'S PLAN FOR THE CHASSEN FAMILY
by Diane Wise

One day the Lord woke up and had a special plan.
I think I have a project that will require a special man. 

He reached into his people file and spun it a full cycle.
Then gently set it on the earth, that day he created Michael.

He entered all his Michael data on a disk and then hit Save.
Must be a computer error, it keeps filing under Dave,

He carefully watched that special man; with many stops along way.
An important pause in David’s life was scheduled for the first of May.

He would say those special words, I love you, and I do.
With a special partner made just for him; that’s why God created Sue.

Together they would share their lives as they became one.
God’s plan for this family had just begun.

In David’s eye there was a dream; in Sue’s heart was a wish.
Blended together with all their love, they created Trish

A beautiful child with golden hair and with a smile his heart would melt.
He would watch her grow and sometimes knew without any words, exactly how she felt.

Soon Chapter Two would soon unfold with a story to be told.
God popped that disk in to be filed, and up again came saved.
Floating down on a fluffy cloud, the angels brought little Dave.

His hair was fiery red and his face had such a glow.
He turned into a man that his Dad was proud to know.

 This family was not complete; there was one more plan of joy.
God had a sense of humor when he sent this little boy.

 He didn’t come by airplane, nor sail in on a raft.
He inherited his father’s humor cause Craig always made him laugh.

He made Sue a promise, on that special day in May.
He kept those promises good and bad all along the way.

 He asked Lord, “How long should I love her?” The Lord answered in a rhyme.
“Until the Twelfth of Never  ’cause that’s a long time.”

For thirty years they shared a life, and grew rich in love and friends.
For all who came to know him, they loved him to the end.

The Lord woke up the other day and had a special plan.
He reached into his people file and called a special man.

He said, “Please Lord, not right now, I’ve not done all I can.
I’d give up everything I own to stay a family man.”

“Come with me the Lord replied, your family they must stay.
They’ve much to see and do, until you meet again someday.

Believe in me and beside me you shall stand.
You’ll not miss a moment of their lives; for we shall keep them in the palms of our hands...”


DAVE CHASSEN  by Jim Nestor (as read at Dave's funeral service)

As word got out about our dear friend Dave’s untimely passing, the most frequent response was shock followed by remarks echoing time and again what a “Great Guy” Dave was.  And, he was a “Great Guy” in many ways, both in who he was, and in what he did..…

He was:
-Always of good humor.  More often than not, the many laughs Dave gave to us came at his own expense and seldom,
  if ever, at anyone else’s…
-A reliable friend, neighbor, classmate, co-worker, soldier, and valued member of our young crowd from Woodside, Queens.
-And always loving and caring husband, son, father and brother….
-A person comfortable with himself, and always someone who we sought out for our gatherings and reunions along the way.

 He:
-Went to war and into combat on our behalf and carried the scars from his 13 months in Vietnam through the remainder of his life. 
 We thank you Dave for putting it all on the line for us…
-Succeeded in building a career, pretty much from the very bottom up, in the Stock Markets. First, on The American Stock
 Exchange in New York and, more recently, on the Philadelphia Exchange.
-Created, with Sue, a loving home where he took on what was probably his favorite role in life, that of being a Dad. 
 You only have to meet Trish, David and Craig to know that his role as Dad, with Sue as Mom, was played very, very well.
-Gave of his good heart and his good spirit.
-He shook the bricks of St. Sebastians RC Church when, as a young, albeit non-practicing member of the Jewish faith,
 he joined the crowd at Midnight Mass on many a Christmas Eve and, in his own way, taught us all a little lesson in tolerance.
-He joined us on all of our beach outings, even though he knew he would suffer with sunburn for days to follow, despite
 being wrapped in towels and covered with sun block.
-Once threatened to run for New York City Council on the “Hypocratic” Party Line.
-Magically appeared once, at 4:30 AM, on a 21 mile stretch of desolate Long Island  beach, with no preset rendezvous point,
 precisely where the rest of the crowd was waiting for him.

 We will very much miss our dear friend Dave.  There will be a very empty chair whenever we gather but our hearts will always be filled with who Dave was and what he did.  We can only hope to be allowed to join you where you are now.

 It takes a very good soul to make such a “Great Guy".


OUR FRIEND DAVE - by Al Saunders (as read at Dave's funeral service)

My family moved from Staten Island to Queens in 1959.  We live on 64 Street along with my cousin Dolores Szezech, Cathy Horan, Jim Nestor, Sean Grennan, Teddy Wilson, Colleen McGuire, Maryellen Martin, Maria Rhatigan, Don Kehoe, Brian Wickham, Joanne  Wilburn, Dennis Bresnahan , Larry Hughes, George Neiss, and on 63 Street we had Bob and Eddie Brivio, Bernie Rahill, Mike Morin,  Mike Byrnes and John Gambi.  On 65 street was Dave, Barbara Zabriski, Dottie Smith, Sheila Sutton and Maryann Sanders.

 Our group basically hung out on 64 Street or Tony’s Candy Store with the juke box, four booths and two wooden telephone booths.  We would all gather there and spend some time together……  Doing what city kids did best………..JUST HANGING  OUT.   

 I remember stickball, football, softball, Johnny Ride The Pony, Teddy and Al hanging from trees,  going to parties, dances on Friday or Saturday night in Jamaica ( after the dances the guys would always top the night off at White Castle on 69 Street & Roosevelt Ave and see who could eat the most hamburgers that we referred to as belly bombs, Halloween Parties and  singing  on the corner by Tony's Candy Store.  I remember the midnight football games we played when there was a heavy snow storm that covered the street.  At Christmas time midnight mass was a tradition,  after mass breakfast at the Gerbinos, the next day we visited the Saunders, Wickhams and Ryans for fun, food and dancing….Party Time.  I remember on one Christmas Day when a large number of guys piled into my 62 Ford.  Easter Sunday was a day of taking pictures in our Sunday best dress and sometimes going to Jones Beach to take a dip in the ocean.  In the summer,  we would go to Rockaway Beach at 108 Street.  The usual mode of transportation was the bus that left on 61 Street.  Some of the guys would go to early mass and pair off in two’s and hitch a ride to the beach.   All would assemble at 108 Street for a great day at the beach where some of the guys would moon the beach and wear their bathing suits on their heads.  I will not name the guilty parties at this time. When we went to the beach Dave would disappear after a while because he always would just fry in the sun.  Dave would find a place to stay out of the sun for a while. Then came the days when the guys started to get their driver’s license and  own cars (known as wheels in those days).

 I remember the Hamptons (summer home), The Washington’s Weekend, at Mike Byrnes summer home in PA.  A group of us went there and it was very cold and during the night the temperature was below zero in the house. The next morning my aftershave was frozen in the bottle. During the day we rode around town in Brivio’s 62 Chevy convertible with the top down.

 I remembered the Saturday mornings I would wake Dave up and his Mom would make us breakfast.  Dave and I were always working on cars.  He owned a 1948 Olds and was going to rebuild the engine.  He ordered new pistons from an auto parts store and after fooling around for a week we gave up on the project.  So Dave went back to the Auto parts store and argued with the guy for about an hour and Dave got his money back. 

 Christmas Dinner at the Chassens is another event I shared with Dave and his family for over 20 years.

 I now would like to share a poem that was given to me by my Mother. 

 The Things That Count

 Not what we have, but what we use,
Not what we see, but what we choose,
These are the things that mar or bless,
The sum of human happiness.

 The things nearby,  not things afar;
Not what we seem,  but what we are,
These are the things that make or break,
That give the heart its joy or ache.

 Not what we take,  but as we give;
Not as we pray,  but as we live---
These are the things that make peace
Both now and after time shall cease.



Dave seizes the moment at Mike Byrnes' country house in PA.  Dave always worked well with props. (Washington's Birthday 1963)

DAVE CHASSEN as remembered by Brian Wickham

I don't want to say that this photo is the way I remember Dave, although it is tempting.  Dave certainly was a much more serious person than the picture to the right would portray him.  Nevertheless, when horseplay was the mood of the moment, Dave was always ready to not only join in, but become the center of activity!

What I really remember Dave for was his ability to hold his own in any discussion, and his contribution to an argument/discussion was always rooted in common sense and a knowledge of how the world really works.

Some isolated remembrances that may mean nothing:

1. Dave had a roll of unused 1960D pennies which he sold me for the dollar it was worth because he wasn't going to wait the 40, or so, years for the damn things to gain some value.  His judgment was impeccable in this case, and I still have the roll.

2. When we all started that phase where you have breakfast in a diner every Sunday at 2am, it was Dave who explained the finer points of tipping to those who still didn't get it.

3. Another diner story (somewhere on Long Island) - Dave showed us how to balance salt shakers on their edge by pouring some salt on the table and getting the shaker to stand on edge in the salt. Then he lightly blew away the extra salt.  We must have lined up six shakers, all leaning off the edge of the counter, then got up, paid the bill and walked out.

 4. Dave knew more about NYC than the rest of us put together.  He brought us to Arthur Maisel's restaurant on 50 Street and 7 Ave. for the best sirloin burgers and French fried onion rings in the world.  I still haven't had better and that was about 1961.

5. Dave never spoke to me of his combat experiences but he shared a wealth of information about the Army in general.  By the time I was drafted I already knew the ropes and just which ones I could sneak under.  In the draft era that was priceless knowledge!

6. I've tried to get corroboration of this story, one that speaks volumes about Dave, but no one else seems to remember the details.  When Bob Gallagher crashed his Edsel into the toll booth on the Southern State Parkway, circa 1962, he had been drinking.  Dave rode with him to keep an eye on Bob but it didn't work out.  Apparently there was no one else in the car to witness what happened next.  To save Bob from a drunk driving charge, Dave pulled Bob out of the driver's seat and told the police that he had been driving.  I know the story because I drove Dave out to traffic court in Mineola to plead.  As I recall he took a change of clothes because he thought there was a possibility of being put in jail.  He instead got off with a fine.  I don't think Bob Gallagher, or any of us, could ever want a better friend than that.


Fragments of memory from friends

This sounds trite but Dave taught me to put lemon, salt and pepper in tomato juice and I have enjoyed that almost every morning for 40 years or more.....and not a day goes by that I don't acknowledge Dave.........a silly legacy but I do think of him that often....

Tom Ryan


Here we are still thinking about Dave.  Fran & I overheard someone wondering whether they should order brisket and Fran mentioned that the old Belmore Cafeteria (of Travis Bickle fame) on Park Ave South had great brisket.  It reminded me that it was Dave who first made me aware of the Belmore back in the 1960s.

Brian Wickham  8/17/01


I've known Craig since 3rd grade, and he's easily my best friend. Mr. Chassen was my other dad when we were growing up. Whenever we were in the car, driving me home and such, he would always say, "I've got a shortcut", to which Craig would then turn to me and say, "We're gonna get lost!" I also remember once when he also came over my house once when Craig and I were home alone. Something had come loose in the screen house in the back and was banging against the back door. From the inside it sounded like someone trying to get in, and we got really scared and called Mr. Chassen. I felt really silly when I found out what it was, but I remember the relief, too, that Mr. Chassen had come.

Patrick Shen
Georgetown University Class of '04
11/30/01


Please send any memories of Dave to me at bwickham@nyc.rr.com