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Local school custodian dies from COVID-19

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Eric J. Choken

Eric Jordan Choken died Sept. 10 after battling COVID-19

PUNTA GORDA — Staff members and students of Sallie Jones Elementary School are mourning the death of school custodian Eric J. Choken, who died Sept. 10 after battling COVID-19.

Choken, 34, spent 17 days in the hospital before being taken off life support, according to his obituary.

The school posted his death on its social media page.

“Our Sallie Jones family is mourning the loss this week of one of our beloved employees, Eric Choken,” it said. “Eric was a member of our custodian team for 15 years. Our hearts hurt for his family and friends at this time.”

The school was collecting cards for the family.

“We will miss you Mr. Eric,” he said.

Megan Parent, an administrative assistant at the school, said Choken would drop by her office every day with a cheerful greeting

“He was a really good person,” she said.

A private celebration of life is being held Saturday.

“Eric took people at face value and loved them for who they were,” states his obituary. “He was never too busy to chat, check on others, or take someone a meal. He was kind, thoughtful, caring, and took a vested interest in people’s lives and their well-being. Eric loved playing video games, going to the movies, and being an uncle. His gentle smile could melt the hearts of those around him.”

Born on March 13, 1987, in Akron, Ohio, Choken moved to Punta Gorda with his family in 2001. He was graduated from Charlotte High School in 2006 and completed the culinary arts program at Charlotte Technical College.

For 15 years, he “was loved by both staff and students. As one of his co-workers said, ‘to know Eric was to love him and to be loved,’” states the obituary.

Eric is survived by his parents, Dave and Debbie; brothers, John and Andrew; and sister, Rachael.

In lieu of flowers or donations, Choken’s family asks “that you live your life caring for others just as Eric did every day.”

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