9-11: Erwin L. Erker

Something struck me as I was reading about Erwin Erker.  He was a regular guy.  Hell, he sounds like any number of people I know and deal with every day, even a bit like me.  He was into technology, that’s apparent by his choice of careers, enjoyed both watching and playing sports, and kept an active lifestyle.  It’s the realization that so many “regular people” fell victim to the horrible acts of 11 September, 2001 that has punched me in the gut on this day every year since.

Sitting here at my desk on this September 11th, my “reminders” for today are all displayed:  8:46:40, 9:03, 9:37:46, 10:03:11.  I find myself remembering that day and where I was at each of those times; wondering where “E” was, what he was thinking, and how he faced the situation unfolding in front of him.  I’d like to think, were I in his shoes, that my last moments would have been spent doing whatever I could to help those around me.  I hope that was how “E” found himself; but I have no judgement to pass regardless.

I hope that this post, in its small way, can serve to keep alive the memory of Erwin L. Erker and all those who lost their lives on 9-11-01.  Since I can in no way do his memory the same justice his family and friends have already done, I repost their words, as written by someone far more talented with the written word than I.

Erwin L. Erker, I remember you.

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.

(Note: I was unable to find this article on Newsday.com, however I am leaving the attribution as stated in the version I quoted)


Also:  Shelley A. Marshall