Passed away on March 23rd, 2021 at the age of 79. Beloved uncle and godfather of Eriks Teranis. Dear nephew of Inara (Normunds) Upite. Dear cousin of Aija (Christian) Jantz, Vija (Glenn) Sommers, Inta (Frank) Carr. His furry friends Zorro and Sassy. Also survived by many friends.
Eriks always enjoyed sharing his time he spent in Alaska, where he served during Vietnam. A love for the state stayed with him until the end. Besides his Army stories, he often talked about the varied wildlife of Alaska as well as the glaciers.
He grew up during a turbulent time in World History, having been born in Latvia, and before he was four had to flee with his family to Germany, where they settled on the West German side near Kiel. Stories of his brothers and him playing in the abandoned U-Boat pens were staples of his reminiscence.
Another major memory he often liked to share was the trip over in a Liberty Ship and coming through Jones Island. The family spent a few years in the Allentown area staying with a host family who they stayed in touch with into the 1970s.
Upon arriving in Milwaukee, he played sports in high school: football and swimming. Despite his small stature, he was a demon on the field. It was just his drive to overcome obstacles that would serve him his entire life. Even at the end of his life, when dementia had him firmly in his grip, that drive fought it tooth and nail.
In his forties, he played with the neighborhood kids who his nephew was friends with. They played baseball on the kickball diamond at Hartford Avenue School during the summer months, and due to his conditioning, he tended to always outplay the teens with whom he played.
Never satisfied to just sit around, he worked until age seventy-seven, when finally he retired. However that didn’t stop him from walking three miles a day to allow him to enjoy his outdoors. To the end, he always wanted to go walk.
Survived by friends as well as family: most notably Bonnie Finkler and Tracey Scharles, the daughter of a long time friend Jim who preceded him into Eternal Life.
A generous soul, he would help anyone who needed it, even if it was often to his own detriment. A true heart of gold, he was a caring and loving man. He was especially fond of the nickname his nephews friends had for him of Uncle Crankypants. He knew that it referred to the gruff facade he liked to show people, and that they knew the true soul inside.
He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.