SHERBURNE – “He was just a good kid and an even better man, and he is sorely, sorely missed,” said Sue Lawson, mother of the late Eric “Eeker” Peptis. “He loved everybody and was liked by all. At his funeral, the director said it was one of the biggest he’s seen.”
For the third consecutive year, family and friends of Peptis will join together Aug. 2, 2014, at the Mountain Top Golf Course in Sherburne for a tournament and auction where all proceeds benefit a scholarship fund created in Peptis’ name.
“The purpose of this tournament and memorial fund is to try to turn the tragedy of losing Eric into something that can help others,” said friend and organizer Amy Doliver.
Peptis’ mother said a donation was recently made from the fund to the Norwich High School FIRST Robotics Team, to assist the students.
“Growing up, Eeker was your typical scrappy kid. He hung out with all the neighbors, and had more friends than I’ll probably ever know about,” Lawson said. “As a man, he worked hard. He did what he had to do when he had to do it, and knew how to have fun. He liked his concerts, he lived for those. He loved to go with Jake (brother) and Sarah.”
“He was a good son that went the extra mile,” said Peptis’ father, Darryl Lawson. “If he ever borrowed anything, he returned it; if it was money, he paid it back.”
Peptis’ mother recalled that Eric gave her her Mother’s Day present one day early. “It was a ten-dollar piece of sea glass wrapped in silver wire. It was green, he knew it was Mom’s color. He brought it to the house and I put it on a chain I had because it didn’t come with one.”
Peptis passed on Mother’s Day. His mother said her husband took her to a local jewelry store that following Thursday to purchase a nice chain, and she hasn’t removed the necklace since.
Friend Andy Smith shared a memory from years ago, and said, “We were at a party and Eeker went out to get some firewood. He was taking a while so we went out looking for him near the cliffs. We heard moaning and realized that he had fallen, and his femur was sticking out.”
Smith said he and two other friends carried Peptis to Smith’s car and drove him to the hospital for care.
Smith recalled jovially, “We were afraid we were going to get in trouble, so I hid in the cafeteria and ate ice cream. But we all made sure he was okay, and he was a trooper.”
Organizers said the purpose of the tournament is to not only celebrate the life of a man who lost his life too soon, but to raise funds to help out members of the younger generation throughout the community.
A live auction and Chinese auction are set to take place at the tournament, which begins at 10 a.m. Businesses that have donated auction items thus far include, but are not limited to, The Blarney Stone Pub, Meena's Voice and Piano Studio, and The Tiger Lily.
“Whether people called him Eric, Eeker, Eek, or Eekside, he was just a likable guy and everyone thought the world of him,” Peptis’ mother said. “There was always a laugh and a smile when he was around.”
Friend and organizer Joe Pastore said his favorite memory involved Peptis’ passion for sports and football, and he recalled a time when Peptis showed up a day early so that the two could be sure to watch the game together.
Various friends indicated he was a devoted San Francisco 49ers fan and he also loved to play golf.
Said Doliver, “Eric was a loving, sweet, loyal, and compassionate person and anyone that had the good fortune to have met him, loved him. This is something that is very important to his family and friends and we believe that Eric would want us to put our energy into helping the community.”
Individuals or businesses with interest in donating auction items for the event are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Doliver at 316-2450.
Donating businesses are asked to supply business cards or brochures so that in addition to the goodwill of their company’s donation, they can receive valuable exposure at the event.
“We want to help out the kids in school with this money raised,” Lawson said. “Eeker would have really wanted that.”