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EAST MEADOW, N.Y. — Eric James Helming, 46, of East Meadow died of a heart attack Feb. 14, 2015, at Winthrop University Hospital, Long Island, N.Y.

A Celebration of Life event planned by his family is 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, June 12, 2015, at Tanglewood Hills Pavilion in Bettendorf. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Eric Helming Scholarship Fund. Eric was born July 7, 1968, in Cedar Rapids to John and Sharon Helming. Eric graduated from Central High School in 1986, and from University of Northern Iowa in 1992. He married Jodi DeSantis of Queens, N.Y., on June 28, 1998.

He taught for 17 years at East Meadow High School. Eric’s lighthearted and approachable nature broke down the traditional teacher-student barrier, making him one of the most popular educators in the school. He was declared the school’s Best Teacher several times, based on a vote by students in the yearbook. Eric, who taught social studies, was known for his wide-ranging knowledge of not only history, but a variety of subjects ranging from music to popular culture, from literature to television. When Eric laughed, he could be heard clear over to the other side of the building. That was his superhero power: He could make people laugh.

In his free time, he played bass and sang vocals in several cover bands in the New York area. Eric loved having a marathon Monopoly game on a rainy day with his boys, or playing a touch football game with all the neighborhood kids. Eric was a proud Iowa native, a lover of Mountain Dew, heavy metal music, authentic Mexican food, the Mississippi River, the Chicago Cubs, the Lord of the Rings trilogy and wide-open spaces.

Survivors include his wife, Jodie (DeSantis) Helming, New York; sons, Logan and Payson, New York; father, John Helming; sister, Alison Helming Loescher; and niece, Amelia Loescher.

Eric was preceded in death by his mother, Sharon Helming.

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