Eric Remelmeyer came to Amherst with something most other 18 year olds never consider: a clear sense of mortality. Cystic Fibrosis was a disease that had almost killed him twice and which he knew would probably bring his life to an untimely end. In 1971, most people suffering from CF had a life expectancy of 18 years. Today it is up to 35 years. Eric beat both numbers handily.
Eric was not going to let the prospect of a shortened life keep him from experiencing it to the full. His enthusiasm for his studies, college life and recreation became legendary. The image of Eric in his red shorts dancing on the table at a frat party is indelibly etched in my memory. The sound of his laugh, roughly equivalent to an old car trying to start, will never be forgotten either.
After college, Eric secured his M.B.A. in accounting from his beloved USC and passed the CPA exams on his first try. While his deteriorating health held him back in his career advancement, he nonetheless enjoyed his work, especially his last position at the Five Acres Home for Children.
In 1997, Eric received a double lung transplant. Predictably, he fought through it and received the reprieve of some very good years. I was glad to note that the new lungs did not seem to affect the timbre of his laugh!
Not even the briefest account of Eric’s life could omit his beloved wife, Kimberly. Her love for and loyalty to him as he bravely struggled made a tremendous contribution to Eric’s optimistic outlook on life. Eric’s Christian faith not only brought him comfort but impelled him to always seek ways to serve others.
Eric departed this life on Oct. 7, 2008, at the age of 55. The funeral Eucharist for him at Our Savior, San Gabriel reflected not just the triumph of his relative longevity but also that of the author of his faith. Eric was, and always will be, our friend.
—Craig Lister ’75