Services scheduled today for music teacher, musician Elliott Charnow

Long-time Pleasanton resident had retired as Chabot College dean of Humanities

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. today in Placerville for long-time Pleasanton resident and well-known musician and teacher Elliott Allen Charnow, who died last Saturday at the age of 68, succumbing to a long battle with emphysema.

Mr. Charnow began his teaching career at Castro Valley High School in 1964, where the young music director met his future wife, Judy, a first year teacher at the school. In 1978, she joined the faculty at Amador Valley High School, where she taught Spanish and French until retiring in 2001. They celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary last April, surrounded by family and close friends.

Mr. Charnow was born in San Mateo and began his career in music while attending Carlmont High School in Belmont. He played the clarinet in the band and the orchestra, as well as completing all the requirements to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. He earned his bachelor's and Master's degrees in music from San Jose State University. He was a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity and was a long-time director of the Hayward-LaHonda Music Camp.

In 1971, he began teaching music at Chabot College in Hayward, and ended his career there as Dean of Humanities, retiring in 2000. During that time he had been a member of the American Federation of Musicians (local 153), the Music Educators National Conference, the California Music Educators Association, and the Music Educators of Northern California. After retiring, the Charnows left Pleasanton to move to Placerville.

Mr. Charnow is survived by his wife, their son Steve Charnow (Ashley) of Clovis, their daughter Diana Charnow Gonter (Lou) of Placerville, granddaughters Madeline, Emily and Haley Charnow, grandson Max Gonter, step-granddaughter Louann Gonter Lynd of Sacramento, and his sister Sheila Alperstein (Glenn) of Woodland Hills, Calif.

Sunday's memorial service in celebration of Mr. Charnow's life will be held at 1 p.m. at Chapel of the Pines Funeral Home, 2855 Cold Springs Road in Placerville.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be sent to the American Lung Association (

--Jeb Bing


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