Rachel Chazin had one of those laughs. Loud, open-mouthed and contagious, the kind that made people feel as if they were part of something special.
“It was common for her to laugh so hard, she would cry,” said Sarah Shibrowski, a high school friend and college roommate.
Clever and witty, Chazin found humor in everyday moments, Shibrowski said. In her work life, she turned that comedic timing and skillful turn of phrase onto Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and became a well-regarded social media producer for Fox 9 news and the Star Tribune.
Chazin, who had suffered from depression, died June 26. She was 27.
“She understood what made people tick,” said Colleen Kelly, senior digital editor at the Star Tribune, who took one look at Chazin’s resume two years ago and instantly spotted a big talent. “She always knew what people were curious about, what they might find fun.”
She was proud to be a journalist, having soured on entertainment writing after a summer internship in Los Angeles working on reality TV concepts.
Interested in politics and world affairs, Chazin was as apt to improve a headline on news from the Middle East as she was to write a zinger for the newspaper’s Twitter feed.
“She wanted to report on important issues and things that mattered,” Shibrowski said. As roommates, the two talked often about faith, politics and social issues.
When she was 24, Chazin was one of a handful of journalists summoned to Paisley Park, where Prince wanted to promote a rising talent. Chazin, the lone millennial in the group, stole the show when she suggested Prince check out Spotify, the digital music streaming service that everyone her age was using to find new artists.
Chazin grew up in Plymouth and graduated from Wayzata High School.
She started dance lessons when she was 2 years old and competed in ballet, tap, jazz and even a bit of hip-hop through her sophomore year in college.
She helped the University of Minnesota’s Dance Team win back-to-back national titles in jazz and pom, a dance style similar to cheerleading, and the world championship in jazz and freestyle dance her freshman year.
“Dance came hard to me,” said Shibrowski, also a member of the U’s dance team. “But she was a fast learner. Very athletic and coordinated, with super good balance.”
Chazin often underplayed her accomplishments.
“She’d get all these awards at school and I’d find them in her backpack later on,” said her mother, Bonnie Chazin, of Medicine Lake. “She knew I was over the moon for her, and didn’t want me to get on the phone and tell everyone about it.”
Family and her Jewish faith were important. Chazin was especially close to her maternal grandparents, Harvey and Evelyn Flom, with whom she lived briefly in their Minnetonka home after college. Even in college, she never missed a Sunday dinner with them.
She and older brother, Sam, grew up going to sports events with their father, Tom Chazin, who now lives in Ocala, Fla. The siblings, almost four years apart, kept up the tradition into adulthood, making regular outings to watch the Twins, Wild and Timberwolves and Gophers basketball and football, when she wasn’t performing with the Dance Team.
She was self-sufficient and independent from an early age. She took a solo trip to Thailand in 2017, went to Israel twice and toured much of Europe during a semester studying journalism at City, University of London.
“Everyone was so proud of her,” said her mother, Bonnie. “As my dad said to me: ‘She did more in her 27 years than most people do in a lifetime.’ ”
Services have been held.