Erv Tamminga, 80, escaped this mortal realm on January 22, 2019. He was preceded in death by his eccentric wife Mary and cherished cat el Jefe. Erv was raised in Roseland, IL, enjoyed life and work in Crete, IL, and retired in Ellsworth, MI. Why he went north of the 45th parallel was never exactly clear. Perhaps it was the challenge of gardening on a hill of sand and rocks, and the sunsets. Erv did not go gentle into that good night, he bravely fought leukemia like the stubborn Dutchman he was.
Erv was a man with incalculable talents - engineer, gardener, baker, fixer of toys, inventor, food critic, solver of unsolvable mysteries. A fan, not of sports, but of good food, fast cars, fast women, and Alex Trebek. Not a man known to always measure twice and cut once - he once fashioned a parrot door instead of a cat door. He never stopped improving and inventing the essentials of life; an electric styrofoam cutter, a finch feeder filler funnel, a snowblower repurposed into a mulch thrower, a wheeled electric fertilizer applicator, and so many other indispensable items we didn’t know were needed.
Erv was also an expert in areas such as; classical music, Chicago Tribune columnists, giggling at the silly ideas in Fine Woodworking magazines, flirting, and cursing. His ability to make a vintage rototiller obey his commands with a stern glance was admired by men half his age. The day Erv (aka “Grillmaster”) grilled with flames to his eyebrows made Bobby Flay weep, and was noted in the local paper. Antique autos would swoon at his feet, assaulted by a symphony in the garage. He was the Conductor. If stuck on Bass Lake with no wind while taming the laser sailboat, a simple draw from a Camel unfiltered would allow meditation and a deserved rest from the clamor of the camp he would attend for his two-week reprieve from managing a machine shop in Chicagoland.
He will be sorely missed by his four sisters, Frances Puck, Phyllis Feikema, Janet Hall, and Nancy Gutierrez; children Peter (Marjorie), Jennifer (Stephanie Wright), and his favorite Joy (Tom) Funk. Proud grandpa of nine; Nicole, Scott, Dylan, Sierra, Miranda, Kaitlyn, Aden, Piper, and Archer. His love of smoking, drinking coffee, and solving jigsaw sudokus were only surpassed by his love for his grandchildren.
Mourners and celebrants of Erv's passing can attend a memorial service at the Hastings Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes in Ellsworth from 2:00-5:00 p.m. on January 26th. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Interlochen Public Radio, PO BOX 199, Interlochen, MI 49643 or call 231.276.4400.
Please sign his online guestbook www.mortensenfuneralhomes.com