Erwin Erker

Family Tribute:Erwin was a wonderful person. He was a great friend, husband and father. Erwin did so much for our children and myself.

Andrew and Erwin always enjoyed sporting events, Met games and Islander games. Having a catch in the backyard, practicing baseball and soccer, and having indoor basketball tournaments in Andrews’ room. Andrew especially enjoyed the quiet time he spent with his father at night right before he went to bed when they would share their day with each other.

Lauren and Erwin loved to shop together both food shopping and mall shopping. Lauren always said her dad would buy her anything she wanted. They used to go to Yankee games together because Lauren is a Yankee fan. Erwin loved to attend Lauren’s band concerts and always listened to the CD from her Jazz festival. Erwin was so looking forward to seeing Lauren march in the Memorial Day Parade. I am sure he will be there proudly looking over her.

Erwin was also a great husband always planning little getaways for just the two of us. One day in August he took the day off, dropped the kids at my sisters and we spent the day together in Greenport, L.I. We had a wonderful day together - real quality time. This is just one of many great memories of special times we spent with each other. I miss him so much.

Since 9/11 I have gotten so many letters from people Erwin knew and it has been wonderful hearing so many great things about him. What a great tribute to him. Erwin’s friend Larry traveled 15hrs from Chicago to come to his memorial service. Erwin’s two oldest and closest friends John and Rick both wrote moving eulogies for the memorial mass. So many people have written to me saying how helpful and smart Erwin was. He truly touched so many peoples lives. Erwin will be missed immensely.

'A Visionary' Who Loved to Travel

Neither Erwin Erker of Huntington nor John Coloprisco of Plainedge had size on their side while growing up in Ridgewood, Coloprisco said. 'Ever since kindergarten, we were the smallest kids in our class,' he said.

The two lifelong friends were members of their neighborhood stickball team, the Menahan Mets, named after the street in Ridgewood where they played when they were kids. 'We were always very competitive,' Coloprisco said. 'But we always complemented each other.'

Erker and Coloprisco were delivery boys for the Long Island Press from 1971-72. It would be 11 years until the two friends would work together again.

High school separated the two, with Erker graduating from Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood in 1978 and Coloprisco from Christ the King High School in Middle Village that same year.

Erker, 41, earned his associate's degree from LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City in 1980. His next step was to enter and excel in the field of computers, his wife Ann said.

Some years later, Erker found himself in Coloprisco's mother's living room telling her about his ambitions, and the promise he saw in a career in technology. 'Erwin told my mother about computers, and how important they would be,' Coloprisco said. 'My mother pushed my brother and me to get into the profession.

'Erwin was a visionary. He knew technology and computers were careers of the future,' he said.

Coloprisco and Erker found themselves working together again in 1983, this time at Marsh & McLennan on the 97th floor of Tower One.

Erker, 41, a vice president in the technology department of Marsh & McLennan, was last heard from on the morning of Sept. 11 when he phoned home to 'check in,' his wife, Ann, said.

The couple enjoyed skiing and camping, his wife said. Four years ago, they traveled to Colorado to ski. 'The scenery was so beautiful,' she said.

Ann Erker called her husband her 'travel agent,' saying that he kept brochures from every place the two had traveled. 'Most of the vacations we went on were his ideas,' she said. 'He loved to travel.'

Coloprisco, who was the best man at Erker's wedding, gave a eulogy for Erker at a memorial service that was held Sept. 29 at 11 a.m. at St.James Roman Catholic Church in Seaford. 'I knew 'E' since we were in kindergarten,' said Coloprisco, who hadn't yet arrived at work when the towers were hit. 'He was competitive, loyal, intelligent and overall just a wonderful person.'

Erker also is survived by his daughter, Lauren, 12, his son, Andrew, 9, his mother, Josefine, and his father, Siegfried, both of Ridgewood, and sisters Susie Beck of Glendale and Anita Erker of Mesa, Ariz.

(c) 2001 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.www.newsday.com

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I think of you often. We would try to get together whenever I was in New York and we did have some fun. We miss you! Those memories don't fade.
Tom Hammett, Colleague
Sep 11 2015 1:35PM
Big E, you will never be forgotten. I miss you and think of you often. You were such a positive influence on my life and a loyal friend. I can't believe its been 12 years since that horrific day. Rest in peace my brother.
John Coloprisco, Friend
Sep 11 2013 10:17AM
Erwin interviewed me for my job at MMC, and he was my manager in 1998-2000. I am grateful for his trust and guidance. I remember Erwin as a smart, professional, and caring person. I remember children's pictures on his desk. Erwin was very proud of his daughter and son. My condolences to Erwin's family. Eleven years passed, but 9/11 is as painful as ever..
Yuliya Levina, Colleague
Sep 11 2012 12:26PM
I grew up with Erwin on Palmetto Street when he was a kid. In fact he use to tease me a lot but it was kind of cute. I always had a crush on him back then. In fact his dad did some work at my house back then, I believe it was remodeling a bathroom. My mom was a Gottscheer and his parents were also of the same ethnic back ground. I remember his sister Susie also. It broke my heart to hear of his passing and untimely death. I worked in the WTC but left after the 93 bombing. My husbands brother was there that day with NYPD but he's ok. I have since left NY and relocated to VA Beach. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I always light a candle on 9/11
Anna Hunsinger Mignat, Friend
Sep 20 2011 9:25AM
To Ann, Lauren and Andrew: I visited this site last week and left it without sharing my thoughts about your husband and father. After seeing the article and pictures in yesterday's NY Post about Lauren and Andrew, I had to share my thoughts. I knew 'E' from playing on the Softball team at Marsh in the late 80s. We were both from Queens so we immediately had a lot in common. I will always remember his great big smile. He was a happy, positive person, dedicated to his family and friends. He had a special bond with JC and until I read the tribute, I had forgotten how far back they went. He was a great guy. I think of him often. Best wihes to you all as you continue life's journey. I know E is with you in spirit.
Jim Carroll, Colleague
Sep 12 2011 9:47AM
My recollection of having worked with Erwin (around 1997-1998) was that he was energetic, fun, professional and a good human being. May you rest in peace.
Dino, Colleague
Sep 11 2011 11:27PM
I attended OLMM school in Ridgewood, NY with Erwin. Today, I took out our class picture from 1st Grade and left it in a spot where I would see it all day. I looked at the picture and saw that Erwin was sitting next to John Coloprisco. I had read John's Eulogy for Erwin and it touched my heart to see them together then and all through the years. Erwin was a quiet, nice guy and after reading all the other tributes, a wonderful man. Rest in peace Erwin.
Michele Castellano Coppolo, Friend
Sep 11 2011 6:27PM
I can still picture myself working with Erwin in the ICT lab . Its such a loss for someone like Erwin to no longer be with us . God speed
John Nasisi, Friend
Sep 10 2011 1:38PM
Erwin, you gave me some excellent advice about how to see New York City the last time I was there and talked to you. When you found out I was an early riser and that I liked to observe people, you told me: 'You can always buy that eleven-dollar bowl of oatmeal in the Howard Johnson's. Go outside at six in the morning and buy a buck-fifty bagel and coffee from any of the street vendors. Watch everything come alive.' Next morning I did, and it was the best day I ever had in the city. Thanks for taking the time to be friendly. God bless you and your family.
Jesse Hillman, Colleague
Sep 7 2011 3:43PM
10 years seems like a long time but at the same has gone by so quickly. - It seems like just yesterday that I spoke to Erwin for the last time but here we are 10 years later and so much has changed. - Lauren is a college graduate which she accomplished in just 3 years, Lauren is also into computers just like her Dad. - Her degree is in web development. - Andrew is in his second year of college and is so much like his Dad that I mistakingly call him Erwin. - Andrew is a huge sports fan and even runs a - fantasy - baseball and football league just like his Dad did. - I think about Erwin everyday and we miss him so much. Life is isn't the same without him, but I try to live it to its fullest and hope we make him proud at what we have accomplished. - Erwin you are my heart and love you today as much as I did when I was just 17 and we first starting dating. - Love you always and forever, till we meet again. <3-
Ann Erker, Family
Sep 4 2011 7:25PM
Erwin, as the 10th anniversary of 9-11 approaches, I wanted you to know that I will never forget you and the impact you had on my life. I hope you hear my prayers on Sunday morning's and come for the rides in my Camaro. Rest in peace 'Big E'. Also, I just re-read the Eulogy I read at your memorial service (and is posted on this site) and it gave me chills. Love you
John Coloprisco, Friend
Aug 31 2011 2:21PM
Even though we have lost touch many years ago, I will never forget the memories we all shared as teens in Ridgewood, trying to find our way in life. Im sure people speak of you proud, and you are watching over all who loved you. Rest in peace Erwin, may the lord protect you and keep you in his light for eternity. Marty Scirica
Marty Scirica, Friend
Jan 7 2011 2:03PM
I remember working with Erwin from 1988 - 1991 back when MIS was first at McGraw Hill and then at 1166. I clearly remember him and John Coloprisco always joking around and making people smile. My heart and well wishes go out to his family and friends these 9 years later still, especially today as we watch the Memorial Tribute. His memory will always live on!
Penni Kessler, Friend
Sep 11 2010 9:32AM
rest in pease Erwin. You are missed.
Jeff Worth, Colleague
Sep 11 2010 8:53AM
I was a consultant who worked at MMC from 1997-1999 on the technology side. I can count on my fingers the number of dealings I had with Erwin during my time, but the fact that I still vividly remember his face nearly 10 years after I stopped working there should be a hint as to what a good person Erwin was. I will always remember his rosy face and warm personality. He was a good man.
Glenn G, Colleague
Sep 11 2009 12:22PM
I worked with Erwin before the move to the Trade Center in the MIS department. He was a great colleague and anyone who worked with him admired and respected him. My continued condolences to his family and friends. Tom Mooney
Thomas Mooney, Colleague
Sep 11 2009 12:04PM
Dear Ann, Lauren and Andrew, Our thoughts are with you and Erwin. God Bless. Love the Pititto's. Heidi, Norm, Chris & Jaz
Heidi Pititto, Friend
Sep 14 2008 3:42PM
As a former Marsh and McLennan employee (1990-1994)I knew Erwin (Big 'E') very well.The one thing I will always remember is that we would always go out on thursday after work for a little while but Never on fridays , because he always rushed home to be with his Family for the weekend. E was a great person and a good friend ,He will be missed. My Heart and well wishes go out to his family. Adam
Adam C. Steyert, Friend
Dec 9 2007 12:54AM
Big E, thinking of you so much today. My son wanted to know about you and I read him the eulogy. I hadn't read it in a few years and it was so comforting to read it and the other postings on this site. Miss u buddy. I know you hear my prayers, especially Sunday mornings in the Camaro.
John Coloprisco, Friend
Sep 11 2007 5:29PM
Thinking about you E, haven't forgotten you for sure. Still have our Yankee/Met World Series stub. Say hi to you when I visit and always will. You were a great friend. I'm sorry I didn't send the package.
George Thomas, Family
Sep 11 2007 10:52AM
Just thinking about you and your team today, Erwin. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about all of the wonderful colleagues I worked with and lost that day. You will never be forgotten. Cindy
Cindy Long (Starsiak), Colleague
Sep 11 2007 9:54AM
I just happen to think about Erwin time and time again. i am glad that I found his information on the web. Erwin hired me for contract assignment at MMC in 1999. During my time there, we got to know each other very well. There was always great respect. He was a real professional - one of the best I have ever worked with in the industry. I will dearly miss him for the good references he gave. My heart goes out to his wife, children, family and friends.
sam tabaziba, Colleague
Nov 12 2006 3:52PM
Dear Ann: Just a note to let you know that I have not forgotten! I watched the memorial telecasts today, just as I do every year. This year must be especially hard for you and your family with the recent passing of your mother and my friend, Margaret. I know that Erwin and Mom are at peace in a beautiful place and together they will always watch over you and keep you safe; you and Lauren, Andrew and the entire Hoelle/Erker family members and all who loved them as well. My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours today....you'll never walk alone as long as you keep the faith and the memories in your heart! Regards from the Scheeler family.....Donna
Donna Scheeler, Friend
Sep 12 2006 12:28AM
Dear Ann: I viewed the Memorial Tribute telecasts this morning for the victims of the WTC attacks, just as in past years since Sept. 11, 2001. The sadness is felt by anyone who has a heart, but none as deeply as the families of those lost that day. I know how much more difficult it must be for you and the children and your entire family this year with the recent passing of your mother. She was a wonderful person and I am grateful to have known her for all these years. Although there are no words of comfort I can offer to ease your grief please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you, Lauren and Andrew at this time. I know that Erwin and Margaret are together in a peaceful place where they can watch over you and your family always. You'll never walk alone as long as you keep your faith and your memories alive. Donna Scheeler
Donna Scheeler, Friend
Sep 11 2006 9:51PM
Erwin was a great guy. I had the opportunity to work with him and eventually become his friend. I would do whatever I could to convince Kathy Bantis that I needed to assist in 'rollouts' in our region so I could hang out with Erwin, John and Chris. They were hard workers who taught me a lot. One of the main things they taught me was if you act professionally while doing your job, and do it right, you can act as crazy as you want when you're done for the day. Give presentations to Managing Directors, build servers and configure 200 computers during a 12 hour work day; then go 'bush diving' in the shrubs near Embassy Suites on the way to a 10 p.m. dinner. My heart goes out to Erwin's family. I can't imagine what you must be feeling. My heart also goes out to Chris and John. I've never met three guys who were so close. Your life must be so different without your buddy 'E'. Dave
Dave, Friend
Sep 11 2006 12:41PM
To Ann& Family, I had the pleasure of working with Erwin during the 'WREN Rollout' from 1997 to 1999. While I did not know of Erwin & John Coloprisco's lifetime friendship at that time, I did marvell at the professional excellence of the team. As a consultant prior to that contract I had become somewhat jaded in my opinion of 'full timer's' abilities, but Erwin & John changed that position for me forever. Having just recently lost my younger brother Joe, I suppose I may know something of your pain. And I would add that, as I and my remaining 5 siblings are learning, that there is great joy in celebrating all that was good and right with departed loved ones. I wihs I had more to offer, but perhaps this may help: Whenever I look at photos of Erwin, I feel some peace and comfort in knowing that all of us who were blessed with knowing such wonderful, peaceful people will always be guided by the knowledge that the good Lord makes certain that the proper spiritual balance is maintaned eternally by their prescence in our lives. May God bless keep you and yours always. Jim Witterschein Amarillo, TX 3/3/2006
Jim Witterschein, Colleague
Mar 3 2006 11:36PM
As a former employee ['87-'94] of Marsh's MMIS-Chicago IT Group I wondered if any of the people I had worked with had been called to Glory. Today, I founded Erwin Erker's name and to whom I had personally had the pleasure of working with. I frequently visited NY for IT projects, and always had fun ribbing John Coloprisco and Erwin about which city had the better sports teams. It would be so hilarious to listen to Erwin and John C. do their tag team thing about New York in what I called their heavy New Yorker spirited tones. As it was then, and as it is now: Always carry your heavy New Yorker spirit! May heavenly blessings continue to watch over your family. Willie
Willie L. Conner, Colleague
Jul 6 2003 12:00AM
Erwin was not only a co-worker of mine.. He was a friend. I remember working together with him John Coloprisco, Pat Botbyl, Jim Manos, Fred Kern, and Tom Spoonley. We were our own little family of loonies. I had many fond memories of our Fantasy Baseball League and how we used to make those late midnight trades. After leaving Marsh & McLennan, I still kept in touch with E(We always called him E)and John just to see how things were going. As a member of the New York City Fire Department I salute you 'E'. May God Bless you, my God Bless Ann and your children. We'll all be together again someday. So you better start reading those baseball magazines again. - Ira -
Ira B. Safaty, Colleague
Oct 22 2002 10:53AM
As a former Marsh employee, I had the pleasure of knowing Erwin when he was installing some systems in an office of Marsh which I managed in Uniondale, LI. He was always smiling, helpful, a wealth of information and as someone else said 'approachable'. His dedication to what he was doing along with his great attitude were qualities admired by everyone in our office. I was truly saddened when I learned that Erwin was lost in this tragedy, but I am comforted by seeing so many people who shared my respect and admiration for him, expressing their thoughts and feelings in memoriam. His family can take pride in knowing that he did touch many, many lives in a wonderful way during his abbreviated time with us all.
Albert J O'Neill, Jr
Oct 1 2002 10:42AM
I want to thank all of you who have posted a tribute to Erwin, I love reading them. I would like to ask all of you who knew Erwin if you would mind sharing a memory of him. I would like to compile a bunch of memories for the kids and put them in a scrap book for them. Thank you.
Ann, Family
Sep 29 2002 9:13PM
I'm a childhood friend of Erwins whom I'm proud to say stayed in touch throughout the years. Growing up he was fearless; not a wiseguy; but he would'nt be pushed around & didn't back down from anyone. He was a great friend, brother, son, father, husband. I'd see him occasionally on the subway down to WTC in the am & we'd catch up on how the families were. We saw him & Ann socially a few times a year & always had a few laughs. I never knew how many lives he touched till I saw all the tributes & saw the huge turnout at his memorial. I miss him greatly & I consider myself lucky to have known him. There is nothing else I could add to the eulogy John Coloprisco gave.
joseph scurti, Friend
Sep 11 2002 2:53PM
It came as a big blow to me that Erwin was among those lost. I had worked directly with Erwin from '86-'94 on the PC connections to the AS/400 and applications that followed. He was always a pleasure to work with, and someone whom I respected. My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues. You do not grieve alone. Thomas Mooney
Thomas Mooney, Colleague
Sep 10 2002 11:55AM
My first job out of school in 1985 was with Marsh and McLennan. I was pretty green when I walked in the door. My job responsibilities were to provide computer support to people who worked for the company. Erwin was the expert in the subject matter I was to help people out with. I rememebr him taking the time out to walk me thru the ropes of how the systems work. He had a great deal of patience. We didnt stay in touch after I left the company in 1988, but I remember the guy becasue he was cool. My most sincere condolences go out to his family. Im sorry about this.---Bill Tompkins
bill tompkins, Colleague
Jul 1 2002 8:17PM
Erwin has always been a wonderful, friend, brother-in-law, uncle and godfather. Ann met Erwin in 1979, and I met my husband Tom soon after. Tom and Erwin, or E as Tom called him, became fast friends. They would always speak about sports, work and of course, our family, as they were both new members to our already close family. We would go to baseball games together and just hang out. Erwin was always outspoken and loved to debate with me. We had some really good discussions throughout the years. Erwin loved to surprise us at times. I remember clearly one Halloween when Erwin walked in wearing an E.T. mask, which really gave us a good laugh. Erwin was at our wedding in 1981 and at our home when we brought our daughter Margaret Regina home from the hospital in 1983. A year later, Erwin and Ann married and I was proud to be a part of their wedding. My son Thomas was born a year later and again, Erwin was there to welcome him. Erwin has been a support for our family through hard times such as illnesses and deaths, and joyous occasions such as weddings, anniversaries, communions and graduations. He was always there to help with anything that had to be done. He helped each one of us settle into our new homes. I think Erwin’s handy work is still a part of our homes, whether it was his painting, wall papering or fixing computers. He has also been there for each of my children. He has attended ball games, sat through dance recitals and step-ups. Erwin was a strong, caring and wonderful man. Passionate in his beliefs he was always non-judgmental. Over the years we have gone away together. In our early years even before we were married, we went as a family to Wolf’s were Tommy and Erwin roomed together. Over the years our most fun has been going to Rocking Horse Ranch. We have been going every year as a family for at least the last 14 years. In addition to our immediate family we have our extended family and many friends. Over the last few years Uncle E would take my son, Thomas, skiing on the Friday we arrived at the ranch, this became a special time for them. In fact it was Uncle E who taught Thomas how to ski. As many people have mentioned to me his presence was greatly missed at the ranch this year. He was always walking around talking to people, making them laugh. You could find him watching football, watching the kids on the ski slope or even tubing. You could tell he just had a great time and enjoyed being with everyone. Erwin meant a lot to my children. They had a good time with him and will always remember their uncle, each in their own way. Margaret said she could go to him to talk and knew he would keep her confidence. She always appreciated that he took the time to see her in shows he would normally not go to, of course until he had his own daughter. Thomas loved and felt so much love from Uncle E that he told me at the age of 5 or 6 that Uncle E was his Godfather. Although Erwin did not christen Thomas, in my son’s heart Uncle E was his true godfather and of course Erwin stepped up and filled that roll. When Thomas was confirmed, it was Erwin who sponsored him, so “he could really be my godfather.” Both my children will miss him, but they have many memories. When we lost Erwin I was afraid he died not knowing how we (I) felt about him. Erwin, you were truly loved by each of us. You were an enormous part of our lives and we now have a huge hole in our family. You were not only a brother-in-law, but also a brother, uncle and godfather. You will always be in our thoughts and prayers. We can still feel your presence, love and support for our family. We know you are still watching over us all. We miss you so very much. With All Our Love Margaret, Tom, Margaret Regina & Thomas
Margaret Schmidt, Family
Apr 23 2002 9:21PM
Erwin was my big and only brother. He was kind, compassionate and always there for you when you needed someone to talk to, to lend a helping hand, or to give advice. I knew that I could always count on him. He had a great love for his family, his wife, and his children and it carried over to people that he met and became apart of his life. Growing up Erwin was the shy one and I was the one that was a little bit more outgoing. I rememer him helping my Dad map out the route they were going to take on all our family vacations. He was very organized and so much better in Math than I was and he was always there to help me. We wound up working together through our teenage years at McDonald's where he came to meet his wife Ann. Erwin was a saver and I was the spender. His son Andrew reminds me so much of him. We both had children born 4 months apart - his daughter Lauren and my daughter Danielle. They grew up very close and still now as they approach those teenage years they are like sisters. Mom and Dad, you should be so proud of the fine job you did in raising on terrific son and brother. In my Mom's eyes he could do no wrong. He never argued or disagreed with her. On the other hand he pacified her. I was the rebellious one who would always disagree with her. My sister was the baby so she got away with everything. My husband Peter had a great respect for him and always talked about his accomplishments. He said that my brother always made him feel comfortable and that he was so easy to talk to and get along with. We chose hime to be our daughter's Godfather because we knew that he would always set a great example for her. She misses you 'Uncle Herman'. We all miss you terribly and want you to know that you are always in our thoughts and in our hearts. Love, Your Sister Susie
Susie Beck, Family
Apr 18 2002 11:58PM
Let's see, how do i describe how I've felt since the death of my best friend's uncle? Words will never be able to describe it. Erwin from what I remember him as was always a kind, funny, smart individual who you could tell always put his family first. I remember seeing him at the graduations, the parties, the family gatherings and one thing always stuck out about him....he always had a smile on his face. He never showed one ounce of sadness when I saw him. He will always be remembered by me for that smile. I am not a family member, I know, but his death made me wake up to reality and made me realize that we aren't here forever and we have to make the best of what we have been given because we don't know when it will be gone. Erwin, you will always be missed and loved. -Lauren Donovan
Lauren, Friend
Apr 17 2002 12:08PM
Erwin (E) was a wonderful, thoughtful and caring Brother in law, Uncle and Godfather. E became involved in my life in 1979 when he and my sister Ann started dating. He was always warm and kind to me. I was the youngest of three girls and it was really cool to have a 'brother'. E and my sister would take me to ball games, movies, the beach and many other places during my pre-teen and then teen-age years. In 1984 I was proud to be the Maid of Honor at their wedding. I knew my Sister was marrying a mature, responsible, loving man who would do anything for her. A few years later Lauren was born and then Andrew. E then showed what a wonderful Dad he was. His family meant everything to him. When my first child Erik was born, it was Erwin that I wanted to be Godfather. I knew he would take the responsibility seriously and treat my son with unwavering love. Erik is now 4 years old and speaks of his Godfather often and tells me how much he misses him. He remembers playing hockey, basketball and camping with his Uncle Erwin. My second child Mark is now 2 years old, and will also mention Erwin. Whenever he sees a picture of Erwin or we speak of him, Mark will say 'Uncle Erwin Fishing' or 'Uncle Erwin hockey.' Erwin was everything I thought he would be amd more as Godfather and Uncle to my children. I know that even now he is looking after Erik and Mark. E was truly a brother to me in every sense of the word and I will treasure all of the wonderful times I was able to spend with him. I miss you E! Susan
Susan Stalzer, Family
Apr 16 2002 7:27AM
Below is the eulogy I read at Erwin's Memorial Mass. It focuses on our 35-year friendship. On a fall day in 1965 my mother took me to PS71 in Ridgewood, Queens for my 1st day of kintergarden. In those days there were no playgroups or pre-schools to prepare us and like most 4 year olds I was terrified. Fortunately, on that day, I met the person that would always be there for me. A person that I admired and always relied on. On that day, I met my best friend, Erwin. We were immediately compatible. Probably because we were always the smallest in the class, and because of our size, were both fiercely competitive people. We formed a lifelong bond and friendship that would carry on for 35 years. After Kintergarden, we were enrolled in Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal school where we were together until we graduated in 1974. Erwin and I lived 4 blocks away from one another. I grew-up on Menahan St. and Erwin on Palmetto. I remember playing at Erwin’s house after school, and in those days without video games, computers and few playgrounds in our neighborhood, the kids grew-up playing city games: Stickball, Paddleball, Stoopball, Ace/King/Queen, Whiffle-Ball, etc. We used to organize stickball leagues that pitted the blocks in our neighborhood against one another. There were the Menahan Mets, Palmetto Pirates, Grove St. Giants, etc. We played constantly and kept detailed records and schedules. Of course, when it came to statistics the 1st person to talk to was Erwin. The things that come to mind about Erwin’s personality were competitiveness, intelligence, loyalty and kindness. When we graduated elementary school in 1974, Erwin was again behind me because the graduating class filed into the church in size order, with me being the smallest and 1st in line, and Erwin 2nd, right there behind me, as he always would be. Erwin and I worked together at Marsh for 19 years. But many years before Marsh, we started our first jobs together. At 12 years old, we both got jobs delivering newspapers for the Long Island Press. We were always motivated by each other. As paper boys, we tried to outdo each other by canvassing for more subscribers. Each week, we built up our routes through tireless canvassing. Regardless of what Erwin did, he approached everything in a tenacious manner: Sports, His Career, School, Fantasy Baseball, etc. Whatever it was, Erwin competed and always persevered. Erwin never gave up. I remember when we played softball for the Marsh team in ‘80’s. Regardless of how many guys showed up for spring tryouts, when it came time to finalize the roster, Erwin always made the team. He wasn’t always in the starting line-up, but when he got his opportunities, he always delivered those classic lefty line drives down the right field line. When we graduated grammar school, we were separated for the 1st time. Erwin attended Grover Cleveland and I went to Christ The King. Even though we didn’t attend the same school, we were Inseparable. We socialized with the same group of friends. Our group of friends did everything together: Mets Games, Sunday Night Bowling, Canoeing, Skiing, Vacationing and generally hanging-out together. Erwin helped teach me the importance of saving. In fact, when I got my driver’s permit at 16 years old, I was able to buy my 1st car from money I had saved delivering newspapers. Erwin was so smart, especially in mathematics. One of his nicknames at Marsh was “Data”, because with Erwin around, there was no need for the Internet. He was a walking source of knowledge. Whatever advice we needed: Financial planning, Marsh Employee Benefits, Income tax preparation, Subway Directions, Vacation Ideas, etc. the 1st person to talk to was Erwin. After High School I was unsure about my career direction. I tried printing and variety of other jobs and felt I was going nowhere. Erwin always knew what he wanted. He attended Laguardia College and was studying for a career in Technology. During his years at Laguardia, he got into an intern program and was working for IBM in Tarrytown, NY. Erwin was such a visionary. Sometime in 1979 we were at my mother’s house and Erwin gave our family possibly the most valuable advice we had ever received when he said, “Computers were the career of the future”. This piece of advice immediately inspired my mother to push my brother Danny and I to attend PSI a Computer Programming school in Manhattan. After graduating from PSI in 1980, I got a job working for Citibank as a Computer Operator. A few years later Erwin took a job at Marsh & McLennan in their Mainframe Production Control group. One day I became aware of a Computer Operations Supervisor position at Marsh & McLennan and discussed it with Erwin. The next day, he met with the department manager and gave him a referral. An interview was arranged and in June of 1983, 6 months after Erwin started at Marsh, we were once again reunited. Again, Erwin was right there behind me. One of my first assignments at Marsh was to organize and automate the tape library system. As always, the 1st person I discussed the assignment with was Erwin. With the OK of his supervisor, Erwin and I collaborated on the project and Erwin wrote a Cobol program that we called TCS for Tape Control System. The system was a huge success for the department and helped to springboard both of our careers at Marsh. Shortly thereafter, Erwin got engaged to his wonderful wife Ann, and I was so honored when he asked me to be his Best Man. During the last 19 years at Marsh, Erwin has been such a valuable asset to the company. Not only because of his astute technical skills, but more importantly, for the type of person he was. He was always such an approachable, friendly and accommodating person who never refused a request regardless of who needed his help. He made everyone feel so comfortable in his presence. His personality left a lasting impression on everyone he met, not only in New York, but also with numerous colleagues at the many Marsh office locations throughout the country. Over the last few weeks, I have received countless calls from the many people that he touched during his career at Marsh. The outpouring of love from his friends and colleagues has been overwhelming. One of those friends, Larry Milkovich, drove 14 hours from Chicago to be at the memorial service today. There are so many funny stories and happy memories from our time together at Marsh that I will cherish forever. Erwin understood what it meant to maintain a balance between his job and his family. He was such a devoted husband, father, son, brother, son-in-law, and friend. He always spoke so fondly of his family, at the office, and during our commute home together on the Long Island Railroad. He was so proud of his son Andrew and was thrilled when he was named an all-star on his basketball team. And how his soccer team went undefeated and won a championship. It’s remarkable how much Andrew reminds me of his father. He often spoke of how fast his beautiful daughter Lauren had grown up right before his eyes and wondered how she got that tall. While driving, he listened to tapes of her playing trombone with her school band. He always made time for his family and would arrange his schedule so that he could attend his children’s games and other school functions. He was so proud of his family and that was clearly evident to anyone he spoke to. When my father passed way, Erwin was there for me and was a pillar of strength and support during such a difficult time. I believe that people are somehow linked to help influence, shape and guide one another and Erwin and I were destined to be together for that reason. Erwin’s friendship had such a profound impact on my life, and so many others, and I will always feel blessed to have known him. The only way to honor him now is to be there for his family, because I know he would there for mine.
John Coloprisco, Friend
Apr 15 2002 2:45PM
Erwin was one of our sons-in-law. Erwin wasn't just a son-in-law, he was one of our sons. He always remember birthdays, he would call me just to say Happy Birthday, or when I had a medical problem he would call. If we were doing something at home he would help. Just the week before that terrible day he went with my husband to do something. He changed his plans so he could help. He will always be missed.
Margaret Hoelle, Family
Apr 12 2002 11:16PM