Eric Soares – husband, father, brother, son, and good friend to so many people – passed away on February 1, 2012, of a sudden cardiac event at Stanford Hospital while awaiting surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm.
Eric was a great individual. His strong personality and his desire to live life to the fullest left a major impact on thousands of people, from his family members to his friends to the myriad college students who took his classes at CSU East Bay.
Eric was truly loved and admired – and he is truly missed.
Eric’s Early Years
Eric grew up in a rural area just outside Anderson, California. His love for outdoor adventure began there as he explored the nearby hills and waterways with his younger brother Marc. He had leading roles in several plays at Anderson High School and was a member of the swim team. He also really enjoyed playing sandlot football.
After a three-year stint in the Navy, Eric earned an A.A. degree from Shasta College. He then attended Sacramento State University, where he earned a B.A. and an M.A. in Communications. He completed his Ph.D. in Communications at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
Eric’s Teaching Career
Eric had a highly successful 25-year career teaching business communication and marketing at California State University, East Bay, where he won awards for his outstanding teaching. He retired in 2008 and was soon honored as a professor emeritus.
Eric was well loved by his family members: mother Mozelle, sister Camille, brothers Marc and John, daughter Micaila, granddaughter Paisley, son-in-law Zoey, son Alex, stepson Nick, sister-in-law Patty, John’s life-partner Stephanie, nieces Dionne, Kirby, and Kasey, nephew Jake, and numerous cousins, aunts, and uncles.
Eric married his beloved wife Nancy in 1996. They created a life of adventure and exploration from their home in El Granada, California before moving north to settle in Ashland, Oregon in 2008. They studied martial arts together and they hiked, traveled, and explored the western United States, Hawaii, and the nearby Pacific Ocean.
Eric and the Martial Arts
Eric’s interest in the martial arts began when he was in his early 20s. He first earned a brown belt in Judo, and then later studied kung fu for two years. After meeting and marrying Nancy, he took up her martial art: Dan Zan Ryu jujitsu. They went to the dojo together, trained together, and spent hundreds of hours discussing and analyzing specific techniques and martial arts philosophy. Eric and Nancy began their jujitsu study at the KoDenKan Institute in the Bay Area and then expanded their studies by studying Ten Chi Do with Sifu Hung Lee. Once they moved to Ashland, they were warmly welcomed at the Medford Judo Academy, where they continued their jujitsu journey under the guidance of Professor Larry Nolte. Both Eric and Nancy hold second-degree black belts in jujitsu.
Eric as Sea Kayaker Extraordinaire
Eric formed the world-famous Tsunami Rangers sea-kayaking adventure group with his best friend Jim Kakuk in 1985. The group soon expanded to include other serious kayakers. The Tsunami Rangers delight in high-adrenaline activities like surfing big waves and exploring rock gardens and sea caves.
In large part due to Eric’s marketing and PR efforts, the Tsunami Rangers were featured on National Geographic Explorer, Outdoor Life Network, MTV, and the Discovery Channel. Eric also taught kayaking workshops and gave talks on kayaking to groups around the country and around the world, including Canada and New Zealand. He was well-known for his dynamic and entertaining speaking style, and for his ability to spout spontaneous jokes, many at his own expense. Most recently he taught “How to Paddle the Open Coast” at MacKerricher Park near Fort Bragg last August.
In addition to writing dozens of articles for sea kayaking magazines, Eric is the author of Confessions of a Wave Warrior and co-author of Extreme Sea Kayaking with fellow ranger Michael Powers . He also helped make several Tsunami Rangers DVDs, including Kayaking Ocean Rock Gardens and The Tsunami Rangers’ Greatest Hits.
On Eric and Life…
Eric only lived 58 and a half years, but he lived more in his too-short life than most ordinary people would live in five lifetimes.
Eric’s body is gone, but his spirit, his teachings, and his infectious joy live on in all of us who were lucky enough to know him.
If you like, you can make a contribution to the Eric Soares Scholarship Fund.
Please Share Your Thoughts…
Feel free to share anything you’d like about Eric in the comments below. It can be how you felt about Eric, a way Eric touched your life, or a funny or exciting story about Eric.