On Friday, Eriq Neale passed away after a year long battle with cancer. He didn’t like the term battle. It didn’t feel like a war. It simply felt like an invader had taken up residence in his body and with a 0% prognosis, there was no war to win, only a fight to continue to live well as long as possible. He did defy the odds.
Eriq did not wish to be known for cancer. He wished to be known for his life achievements and loves. In 44 years he did manage to accumulate quite list of them and certainly earned the right to be proud. If you look down the list, a theme emerges of a man who lived to give to community. He gave of himself to communities in ways that supported those communities in various ways at different times in his life.
- Music writer and performer
- Microsoft MVP
- Student minister
- “Father” for professional baseball hopefuls
- Business owner
A couple of these roles touched me personally. We spoke, wrote, and travelled together. We were MVP’s, business owners, business partners and friends. I have said that if we each took out a personal ad, we would have never found one another. Our differences were pretty striking: man-woman, carnivore – vegetarian, Texas – Michigan, MAC – PC, chocolate hater – chocolate addict and on and on, but what we did have in common was a love of community, a sense that we could make a difference and a desire to have fun. We giggled a lot. We took things in stride. We ate ice cream. I learned a lot about baseball. My last text from him read, Go Tigers! We hung out and found humor in almost everything. I’m richer for the fates having put us in the SBS MVP community at the same time where we developed a friendship that was very significant for me. I find that in the middle of life that developing a new best friend doesn’t happen very often. I guess I was lucky.
On Saturday, June 23rd at 2pm Anna Neale, his wife of 18 years, is hosting a life celebration in Denton Texas at the University of North Texas Campus Ministry Center (1501 Maple Street, Denton, TX 76201) where Eriq and his wife originally met and were later married. There will be a short service, followed by a reception, giving us all a chance to celebrate Eriq’s 44 years of life by listening to his music, see pictures of him and reminiscing with his professional peers, friends and family. Anna has extended an invitation anyone who may be interested in attending.
Condolences may be sent to any of the addresses below:
UNT Campus Ministry Center 1501 Maple Street Denton, TX 76201
Anna Neale 7017 Riverchase Trail Denton, TX 76210
EON Consulting, LLC 1204 W University Dr., Ste. 312 Denton, TX 76201
with a void in my heart,