Eric Eugene East, of Salem, Va., passed away early Wednesday morning, Jan. 2, 2019. He died unexpectedly at Lewis Gale Medical Center a few days after surgery.
Eric was born Nov. 19, 1959 to Judy Beasley East and to the late Ronald E. East. His grandparents were the late Edward O. and Pearl Sutphin Beasley, and the late Eugene H. and Juanita Sutphin East. Eric was a graduate of Salem High School; he also attended Virginia Western Community College and then worked for the Kroger Company. Eric, when younger, enjoyed hiking and camping with his Boy Scout Troop.
As a Scout Explorer, Eric spent several evenings learning TV Broadcasting at the WSLS TV Station in Roanoke, Va. Years earlier, Eric and his younger brother were at WSLS TV as guests of “Cactus Joe”. While there, an earthquake occurred, which was immediately announced on the air.
Eric played on a recreational baseball team; also played drums in his high school’s marching band. He enjoyed attending baseball and football games, concerts, and traveling. Eric met numerous celebrities over many years as a member of RoVaCon, Rising Star, and Point North, plus attending a couple of film festivals.
Eric was proud to be a Life Member of Showtimers, a community theatre group. His name is engraved on a plaque located in the Showtimer’s lobby. He enjoyed the times he appeared in plays on the stages of Olin Hall (Roanoke College), Virginia Western Community College, and Showtimers. Eric received a call from the director of a Shakespeare play at Virginia Western Community College Theatre saying he was in a dire predicament, that an actor had left and could Eric please help him on a moment’s notice.
Eric was happy to help him playing three parts, and the director called him “his Hero”.
As a young man, Eric was a Charter Member of the Mill Mountain Theatre Guild, volunteering to put up posters, giving out programs or selling refreshments during play intermissions.
Eric enjoyed being in films, remembering best the movie that was filmed at Elmwood Park on the day of 9/11. Eric tried to always make it home in time to watch the repeats of “Andy Griffith” on television. Other favorite programs were the History, Science, and the Discovery channels. Eric was becoming a prolific writer of short stories and novels with ideas for many more.
Eric was proud of being a descendant of Robert Sayers Sheffey known as “the Saint of the Wilderness.” Eric is survived by his mother; brother, Scott and sister-in-law, Helen Lann East; niece, Emily East Faris and husband, Kyle Faris, all of Salem; aunt, Betty Beasley Basham, of Shawsville; uncles, Edward H. Beasley, of Troutville, Tim O. Beasley, of Virginia Beach; aunt, Carolyn East Caldwell, of Albany, Ga.
Funeral service were held on Jan. 7, 2019 at Lotz Salem Chapel. Interment followed in Sherwood Memorial Park.
The family received friends Jan. 6, 2019 at Lotz Funeral Home, Salem, Va.