First published in the Sept. 11 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.
The Toll Middle School family is mourning the loss of Isaac Tashjian, a longtime math teacher at the Glendale campus who died Thursday from COVID-19-related complications.
After being hospitalized with COVID-related pneumonia on Aug. 21, Tashjian succumbed to the disease late Thursday, his family announced. His family made the announcement in a statement made to a GoFundMe account established by a friend to raise money for the educator’s medical expenses.
“The Lord brought him home,” Tashjian’s brother-in-law, Jeff Hintz, wrote in an update. “It’s hard to find the words right now, but for now I want to thank everyone for your prayers, well wishes, GoFundMe donations and overall support.”
Tashjian, often called “Tash” by his colleagues at Toll, taught math at the middle school for more than two decades. Principal Jennifer DeLadurantey wrote that Tashjian was beloved by many who worked with him or sat in his classroom throughout those years.
“He was a quiet and strong presence in the classroom and leaves a legacy of students who are better people because he was their teacher,” she said in a statement. “Mr. Tashjian never failed to support his colleagues by sharing his mastery and love of mathematics. More importantly, he was a devoted, kind and generous friend to all of us. Mr. Tashjian will be greatly missed by our entire Toll family.”
Tashjian did not return to school at the start of the year because of his COVID-19 infection. His wife, Heather, also was hospitalized with COVID pneumonia but began recovering and was eventually discharged, according to the GoFundMe page. Isaac Tashjian’s condition, unfortunately, deteriorated and he was placed on a ventilator on Aug. 31.
“Isaac is my compass and I feel lost. Leaving him today was the hardest thing ever,” Heather Tashjian wrote when she was discharged from the hospital.
As of the News-Press’ deadline on Friday, the GoFundMe page that set an initial goal of $10,000 had raised more than $27,000. It can be found at gofundme.com/f/tashjian-family-fund.
Kenny Uong, a public transit advocate from Glendale currently enrolled in the urban studies program at Cal State Northridge, said he was in Tashjian’s algebra class in the 2013-14 school year.
“He was a really kind and caring teacher who believed in his students’ full potential,” Uong said.
Donors have been leaving messages highlighting the impact that Tashjian made on their lives, whether as friends or former students.
“I will forever be grateful for everything you have done for me,” wrote Sebastian Francis-Oliver. “From supporting me through personal issues, to teaching me the greatest amount of math I have learned. I can’t thank you enough, and by donating this small amount