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Yale 62

Eric C. Eitreim

Eric EitreimClassmate Eric Cooper Eitreim passed away at home on January 8, 2022. Born in Laredo, Texas in 1940 to a foreign service family, he attended schools in London, Santiago, and Bogota before graduating from high school in Medford, Oregon. While in school, he worked in pear orchards, where his Spanish fluency made him a youthful translator and informal leader. At Yale, he was a member of Timothy Dwight and majored in economics.

After Yale, Eric earned an MBA from UC Berkeley, before embarking on a long career in banking and finance, initially in California, in Seattle, Washington and finally in Malmo, Sweden. Eric’s interests extended well beyond his banking career. After he and his wife Nancy moved to their redlined Seattle neighborhood, Eric was active in efforts to bring housing of low-income residents up to code. He also took tools in hand to do a major rehab of the family home. A tiny cabin on a waterfront lot on Camano Island (about 50 miles north of Seattle) provided space for chickens, a large garden, and water fun, including picking up Dungeness crabs which were abundant at low tide. By ’85 with college tuitions on the horizon, Eric and Nancy sold the beach and hit the road with teenagers to explore the country. For two years, they chartered sailboats to explore the San Juan Islands and the British Columbia coast and islands. Armed with charts and maps, Eric captained the vessels.

Few people look forward to retirement as much as Eric. It freed him for full time pursuit of an array of projects, interests and travels at will. A move in 2001 to a nearby smaller home with a larger lot provided space for a portable greenhouse, city chicken house, and a huge garden. Eric also served as chef in the small, one-person kitchen. He spent his evenings enjoying live theater, the Seattle Opera and classical radio station He left behind vintage jazz, rock’n’roll, vocals, opera and symphonies in a collection of CDs now gathering dust.

Eric treasured family and even provided infant daycare for his first grandson, Finn, when the family was close by. Eric was a tireless learner, methodically pursuing skills in baking, cooking, poultry raising, gardening, cheese making, woodworking and genealogy. He enjoyed fishing in any body of water and loved to harvest, cook, clean, smoke and eat the bounty — crab, shrimp, clams, oysters, salmon, Dollies, flounder, walleyes, northern pike, ocean perch and more.

On July 12, 2022, family and friends, following his wishes, committed his ashes to Puget Sound in a WA State Ferry ceremony that he had talked about for years. The day was a glorious Seattle/Bainbridge day with mountains, water and city in all directions. Son Martin cited his dad and the ancient Norwegian tradition of throwing remains off the back of the boat to swim with the fishes. Fellow ’62 Yalie Rod Quainton said a few good words. The whistle blew. The engine restarted and returned to Seattle.
Eric is survived by wife of 55 years, Nancy, daughter Anne-Marie (Smith ’91) son Martin (Colby ’93), daughter-in-law Stacey, and grandsons Finn and Arlo. Friends and relatives around the country and around the world mourn his passing and will miss him.

(We thank Nancy Eitreim for assembling much of the content for this obituary.)


— Lee G. Bolman