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Obituary: David Erb

Published: Mar. 25, 2021 at 3:53 PM EDT
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David Erb, who found peace in hard work and God in wide open spaces, died March 25 in his home. He was 78.

His was a life of family and farming with his beloved wife, Wendy, the English girl he met in 1964 while stationed in Stuttgart, Germany, while he was an administrative clerk in the U.S. Army.

Born in 1942, he was the oldest of the six children of Ella Jean (Oliver) and Herbert Erb. Self-sufficient, he planted extra in the spring, filling dozens of buckets with harvested white and sweet potatoes, beans, and melons that he shared with neighbors, loved ones and strangers.

Dave believed fortune came through honesty and hard work, but he was a master at finding four-leaf clovers, tucking hundreds of them into his pockets for his offspring or pressing them into books.

In addition to his farm, Dave worked in maintenance and retired from what is now Eramet in 1997 after more than 25 years at the plant. He balanced the two roles as best he could and as time and weather would allow, but his favorite place was on a tractor. He took in hay when the mercury neared 100 degrees and believed weekends were what God offered to help you catch up on what hadn’t gotten done.

On the family farm, Dave mostly raised cattle, but also raised pigs, chickens, goats, rabbits. A testament to his consistency was that he had  at least four different dogs in recent years, all named Jake.

An avid outdoorsman, Dave loved fishing, hunting, and trapping, and manufactured his own lures and sinkers with his kids and grandkids. He planted tulips in the spring and plowed open the ground as soon as it thawed. He experimented with new varieties of vegetables as well as berries – black, back raspberries, red raspberries, strawberries, even black currants – which Wendy would turn into assorted jellies and jams that they sold, along with other produce and baked goods, at the farmers’ market.

After retirement, he became a member of the Gold Prospectors Association of America and Lost Dutchman’s Mining Association, and loved traveling to pan for gold, always searching for the elusive nugget.

Dave never left a puzzle incomplete or a deck of cards unplayed when family visited, and believed ice cream was most delicious when shared with a grandchild.

He was a visitor in many United Methodist churches, accompanying his wife, Pastor Wendy Erb.

He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Chris Erb. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Wendy, daughters, Robin (Larry) Vellequette and Toni (Scott) Teters, son, Jeff (Lynn) Erb; sisters, Rebecca Dobbins, Nancy Binegar, Kathleen Erb, and Lela Erb, 10 grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.

A private service will be held for immediate family at Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church, but a larger gathering of friends and family to celebrate David’s life will be held this summer.  McClure-Schafer-Lankford is assisting the family and messages of sympathy may be sent at www.Lankfordfh.com.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Fearing Township Fire Department, or veteransmatter.org, an Ohio-based non-profit that helps homeless veterans nationwide get into stable housing.

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