Obituary of Anna M. Cassar
Anna Michele Cassar (1966-2023) was born and raised in Southern California, relocating to Long Island in elementary school. Long Island would become Anna’s forever home. Anna loved her time at The Wheatley School (Old Westbury, NY), after which she attended Hofstra University, earning both a B.B.A. and, subsequently, Masters degrees in Education and in Special Education. Anna never stopped learning, and translated that expertise into advocacy for the needs of children and youth.
Anna’s life’s passion was helping children. Anna was an educator at Temple Beth El for over 30 years, and especially loved running the summer camp there. During the height of COVID, Anna accepted the role of Director at Commonpoint School in Queens, providing stability and a sense of normalcy during this unprecedented time, believing deeply in the agency’s focus on outreach and serving the community. Anna loved teaching all children but was especially drawn to kids with diverse needs; particularly in one on one environments where she could best meet those needs. Anna worked for years with two specific children (now young adults), who benefitted from her persistent and gentle love and education.
Anna was the heart of the family, too, and in many ways the center of things. Anna had many loves, passions, and friends. Anna loved so many so well.
Nothing, though, was more important to her than seeing her children grow into happy adults. She spoke to her sons frequently, always present to Matthew’s and Noah’s joys and challenges.
Anna is survived by her sons Matthew Cassar (26) and Noah Cassar (24), stepfather Bob Grand and wife Marilyn Sperber, sister Danielle Grand and partner Bob Jewell, sibling DL Helfer and partner Mimi Budnick, sister Becky Helfer and husband Ian Munro and son Will, sister Julia Grand and partner Zeke Flores and children JJ and Autumn, sister Sara Helfer and spouse Shawn, son Levi and daughter Cora, brother Jason Helfer and wife Joanna Juretzek and children Allyson, Jaxon, Joshua, Jacob, Alex, brother Jeff Grand and spouse Carey Bertolet, and daughters Lula and Juniper, ex-husband Chris Cassar and partner Jean Evans, Anna was predeceased by her biological father, Bennett Helfer, stepmother Jeanne Helfer, and her mother, Beverly Helfer-Grand.
Donations in Anna’s name can be made to The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), an organization close to her heart.