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Passing of Charles ‘Chick’ Messinger of New Hope

Charles “Chick” Messinger, 91, passed away peacefully on Dec. 20 in Doylestown.

Chick was one of a kind, a raconteur who loved life. He was a loving son, brother, uncle, cousin, friend and teacher. He spent his entire career as an English teacher at Malverne High School and proudly directed the school’s celebrated annual spring musical. A lifelong devotee of theater, film, and ballet, Chick spread that love among thousands of students, many of whom enjoyed professional careers in the arts.

Raised in the Bronx with a wide range of extended family nearby, Chick’s parents, Frank and Helen, encouraged his natural interest in the arts from an early age. Chick was graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School, New York University, and received his master’s degree from Columbia University.

He served proudly in the army in Germany after college, and returned for graduate school.

Chick was a favorite teacher at Malverne High School. His students praised him for encouraging their appreciation of English language and both American and English literature. Chick was recognized among his peers for his stimulating teaching and ability to reach a wide range of students. He was fiercely proud of the accomplishments of students in academics and their careers.

As a devotee of American Musical Theater, Chick was perhaps Broadway’s biggest fan. He knew every lyric and dance number in his favorite shows. Soon, he became the director of Malverne’s renowned musicals, bringing his enthusiasm and spirit to many students, even those who knew nothing about theater before knowing Chick.

After retiring to New Hope, Chick spread his love for Bucks County to former students, friends, and family. Many followed him to the area, and Chick cultivated an active and loving circle of friends who enjoyed his love of life and charming and humorous stories about theater, the army, travel and life. He continued following the arts and worked as a film reviewer for local publications. Chick enjoyed fashion and appreciated art and design.

He lived and immensely enjoyed the life he wanted, and Chick was, until his death, upbeat and positive.

He loved his Village 2 “tree house,” and although he was no longer able to travel in the last several years, Chick recalled detailed experiences in France, Germany, England, Italy, and throughout the United States.

Friends provided a loving circle of support over the years. Joe Luccaro, Tony Danza, Marsha Mazzei, and many others were unceasingly generous and loving until his death. He was predeceased by his brother, Zane, and is survived by his nieces and nephews, Merrill and Barry Lipter, Andy Messinger and Karen Sokoloff, cousins Peter and Ellen Reiss, Pamela Reiss and Steven Stave, several grand nieces and grand nephews, and many other relatives.

Contributions may be made to the Actors’ Equity “Curtain Up” fund.

A memorial service will be held in the spring of 2021 at the Washington Crossing National Cemetery in Newtown under the direction of the Garefino Funeral Home in Lambertville.

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