Deceased December 24, 2018
We lost a good man—and for many a dear friend—when Eric Whyte passed on Dec. 24, 2018, after finally succumbing to more than his fair share of cancer and its complications.
Eric arrived at Amherst in the fall of 1970 as a sophomore transfer from Stanford University, the Northern California weather and vibe apparently no match for his deep New England roots. Eric majored in English, soccer, Sunday morning basketball in The Cage and in making friends throughout the Amherst community. If you were fortunate enough to have known him in college, you’ll remember his impish, nimble sense of humor, his love of great literature, and that quirky but effective outside almost-jump shot.
After graduation, Eric returned to his prep school, joining the faculty at Northfield Mount Hermon for one year and then moved to Pittsfield, Massachusetts to write for UpCountry magazine. In 1975, after Eric’s father died from complications of Polycystic Kidney Disease -- Eric’s soccer career ended when he was diagnosed with the same disease during his Junior year -- he was motivated to complete his pre-med studies in Boston and then apply for medical school in the hope of providing more compassionate and competent medical care than he felt his father had received. Returning to the San Francisco Bay Area to give the West one more try, he graduated from medical school at the University of California San Francisco and then went on to complete a four-year residency in psychiatry at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.
Eric married Michelle Duff in 1986, and over the years three daughters were born. Eric and Michelle worked at Bangor Mental Health Institute in Maine from 1987 until 1988 when the family lived in Pueblo, Colorado, where Eric worked at the Colorado Mental Health Institute. In 1993 Eric moved his family to Pine, Colorado, taking a position at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He spent the last few years of his career working at the VA Outpatient Medical Center in Golden, Colorado, until his health forced him into retirement in 2016. It was at the VA where Eric more than fulfilled the promise he’d made in memory of his father to provide the most compassionate medical care possible to the more than five hundred veterans who were his patients, many of whom credited Dr. Eric H. A. Whyte with having saved their lives.
Eric died at home, with his wife, Michelle, and his daughters Acadia, Mateya and Sadie at his side. He is also survived by his two sisters, Robin Reisman and Kristin Whyte.
Eric lived a selfless life, always giving much more than he took. He was a man of simple pleasures and infectious humor, believing that “the Cheerio is nature’s most nearly perfect food” and that “there is always room for ice cream.” He will be missed greatly by his family, friends, colleagues and the hundreds of patients whom he served.
Henry Eakland ’74