Eric Vincent Waite July 4, 1968 - November 11, 2019, 12:47 am
What does it mean when people say “you have a big heart?” It’s intended as a compliment; it means you have taken an extremely kind action towards someone. It means that regardless of background or status, you are likely to extend this nonjudgmental treatment to everyone you meet.
Let’s look at the life of Eric Waite-then, you’ll understand what having a big heart looks like in action.
Eric Vincent Waite was born on July 4th, 1968.
(Can’t you hear Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band blasting “Born on the 4th of July?”)
He went home to the Mansion promised and prepared for Him at 12:47 am on November 11, 2019. At 51 years of age, he had already been granted bonus years as a man dealing with chronic heart disease throughout his life.
Eric was a relationship expert. Not the kind engaged in marriage and family counseling to others. Eric was a practitioner of friendship.
He loved talking to people. Everyone in the neighborhood near and far benefited and missed these encounters when Eric was hospitalized.
This relationship expertise flourished early in Eric’s life. Eric had a friend in elementary school named Freddie. Now Freddie’s family belonged to the Jehovah’s Witnesses faith tradition. It is their practice, not to celebrate one day as more important than any other day. This, of course, meant that Freddie never had a birthday party. Well, to young Eric this seemed unjust, unfair and unkind! To remedy the situation, Eric convinced his Aunt Joyce into throwing a surprise party for Freddie. It was quite a celebration. Freddie had a wonderful time and his parents never found out about it.
And who says you can’t be kind and entrepreneurial? Moved with compassion for neighbors whose water had been cut off due to some nonsense about unpaid water bills, young man Eric came up with the creative idea of filling water bottles and containers of various sizes with the water from the faucet outside his Aunt Joyce’s house. You know, the one she uses to water the garden. He charged them a reasonable amount; just enough to cover the cost of his beer and pizza. This business enterprise and demonstration of kindness and compassion lasted until Joyce found out about it.
While Eric was born and raised in McKeesport and attended McKeesport High School, his entrepreneurial spirit leads him to Columbia, South Carolina from 1991 – 1993 where he worked for “Gently Used Appliances”. After enjoying the life of a Southern Gentleman for a few years, Eric returned to the bright lights and big city, living out the remainder of his days in Queens, New York.
Of course, all American boy, Eric loved sports. He and his best friend, confidant, and cousin, Genie Murray enjoyed many afternoons and evenings of watching Eric’s favorite pro-football team, The Pittsburgh Steelers. They may have negotiated a wager or two over Eric’s college football favorites, the Pitt Panthers and the Penn State Nittany Lions. Once football season was over, it was time to coach the LA Lakers and LeBron James to their next championship from the comfort of his living room chair.
Enjoying a good laugh made Sanford and Sons, Good Times, and the Jefferson’s some of his favorite T shows. Being a relationship expert, Eric was naturally drawn to the Young and the Restless and to The Bold and the Beautiful. I wonder if Eric advised those screenwriters or if they mentored him. That doesn’t really matter, the important point is that Eric loved people and they loved being loved by him and they loved him in return. That’s what makes Eric a relationship expert whose example we might want to emulate.
Eric is survived by his mother, Shirley Waite; his Uncle Clyde W. Waite, and Aunt Barbara Jones. Eric is also survived by his best friend and cousin, Brian Eugene Murray, and cousin Joyce Keith (better known as Aunt Joyce to Eric). Also left to carry Eric’s memory as a blessing are cousins Henrietta Murray, Rhonda Hodge, Kim Murray, Robert Murray, Paul Waite, Wanda Waite Dawson, Tiffany Waite Crosby, Martell Waite, and Dwayne Waite. Numerous second, third and fourth cousins along with lifelong friends can be counted among the many who were blessed to know Eric and will miss his presence.
Words are inadequate to express the gratitude we have for Marie Zamor and her son Vladimir Janvier. They not only visited Eric but took care of meeting his needs daily while he was in the hospital and in nursing homes. Marie and Vladimir gave the most valuable gift that anyone can give; they gave themselves. Many of Marie’s fellow church members came to visit Eric during the week and then visited again every Sunday to pray for him.
We are indebted to one of his best friends, Patricia Lawson. Patricia is an excellent cook and was always preparing meals for Eric. You brought him joy through your culinary gift.
Above all, thanks be to God for the indescribable privilege of knowing this man who loved the LORD and loved others. Remember him often. Let those memories be a blessing to you.
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