Memorial created 02-11-1998 by
Erik Gregory Smith
February 11 1983 - October 31 1996
Erik was hit by a van and killed while crossing a street in Rancho San Diego, CA on Holloween, 1996. I went down to pick him up around 5:45PM from a friend's party after a school Holloween dance. I found him laying by the curb alongside Jamacha Blvd in Rancho San Diego. The crosswalk signal was burned out and I think he thought he had a green light. He ran across the street, cut north on his way home and was hit from behind by a van after he had ran about 25 yards across the street. He was thirteen. He was in eighth grade.
Father Jerry said: "that the biggest mistake we make when reflecting on a young life cut short in its "Spring-bud", is to speak of that young life as if everything of importance still "lay ahead," in a future that will never now be realized! But, to do that is to make a tragic error! Because ERIK LIVED A LIFE! And, even though it was only thirteen short years; Erik achieved a great deal and crammed a lot of living in those years."
Erik was born on Feb 11, 1983 at the Subic Bay Naval Hospital in the Philippines while dad was assigned there by his company. During his thirteen years he went to Manila, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, Panama, Hawaii, Las Vegas, California and So Dakota and most states in between.
Photo of Erik dancing with his sister Cristina, August 1996
Erik was an honor roll student all though school. Although he was a quiet kid, he was well known and popular in school. At the end of third grade he came home very upset because he hadn't gotten any end of the year awards like his sister, Cristina. We were consoling him and I said " Erik, you were voted the student council representative by the whole class. That's quite an honor." And he said "Naw, that just means you got a lot of friends."
Anything that involved running, balls or pucks Erik liked to play. I was lucky enough to coach him through most of Little League and the last few years of soccer and even luckier because he always wanted to practice with me. He played in soccer tournaments all over southern California and once took the family to Hawaii for the Rainbow Tournament. While he was always one of the smaller players, Erik had no fear on the ball field and he never seemed to tire out. Erik was always a spark to his teams but he was never cocky about his ability or accomplishments.
Erik's last year was filled with activity. During Easter vacation his friend Paul invited him to go with his family to Panama where he played basketball and soccer daily with the neighborhood boys-they called him "English". In the summer, Erik went to Torreon Mexico where he practiced with a league soccer team that invited him to go to a tournament in Guadalajara, Mexico. His stay there didn't allow him to go but he practiced with two cousins who play in the Mexican professional league. Later in the summer, the family took our annual trip to Lake Madison in South Dakota where Erik attended a British Soccer camp and was trained by a British player from the British professional leagues.
Erik's other passion was fishing. Every summer the family vacationed at Lake Madison in South Dakota,his favorite place in the world. Although we never caught a decent fish in California, he never got tired or discouraged of going out and trying and at the Lake he could spend hours fishing with his friends Jay and Eric. When they weren't fishing or playing some type of ball, they would jet-ski or water ski.
|Family at Mount Rushmore -- |
We donated Erik's organs. We simply wanted to spread him out as far as we could; to give him further life. Father Jerry said "how important it is for parents to know that their child's young life made a difference. I think that it is important for all of you to know that even in death, Erik, (who gave such joy to others in this life), continues to touch and change lives. That the happy laughter, the wonderful smile, and maybe even a" bit" of the athletic ability and passion for fishing will continue on now, not only in our memories and hearts, but in those lives that Erik helped to save!"
Erik's liver went to San Francisco, one of his kidneys went to Hemit, Ca, the other was too severely damaged. His corneas went to the eye bank. There was not a heart recipient close enough. We like to think that no one could accommodate his heart.
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