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Waisman, Eric A.

May 1, 1959 - April 7, 2013

Eric Waisman, 53, passed away Sunday, April 7, 2013 in Dallas, Texas. He was born on May 1, 1959, in Galveston, Texas to Jane Barbara Atkins Waisman and Jerry Waisman. He grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah and Pacific Palisades, California and after high school, joined the U.S. Navy.

The Navy, capitalizing on Eric’s multi-faceted talents, tracked him directly into a high-tech career, training him to work in the Pacific Fleet at a very high security level on ships capable of launching missiles in the midst of the most chaotic attacks. Back on land, he taught this specialized knowledge in the Navy’s training centers in San Diego and Pensacola. Upon leaving the Navy, Eric worked for General Dynamics, expanding on his expertise in electronics for warfare. He then branched out into the budding cellphone industry, moving to Dallas in the mid-90’s to work in radar control tower maintenance for Nortel. He wrote manuals for the new industry, and was particularly proud of his de-bugging skills.

Eric was a brilliant and unique child from the get-go, speaking in sentences by his first year, and long paragraphs soon after. He initiated conversations with most anyone he crossed paths with in his early years, leaving in his wake a long line of charmed adults. At age 6, he did not color inside the lines, and this approach stayed with him for the rest of his life. Neither thinking nor acquiring knowledge in traditional ways, Eric read extensively, with deep knowledge in a range of scientific fields, music and literature – in spite of never graduating high school. His photographic memory allowed him to quote paragraphs from texts years after he’d read them, and to weave together unique perspectives from such memories.

The great joys of his adult life were his beloved daughter and her sons (his grandsons). He always said, if there was one thing he had done right, it was Mo, his daughter. Eric was caring, warm, resilient, loyal, brilliant, protective – he will be dearly missed.

Survivors include his mother Jane Barbara Atkins Waisman, his father Jerry Waisman, his daughter, Maureen Watts Waisman and her two sons Raiden and Korban, his partner of many years, Corrinne Yates, his sister Nina Waisman, his brother John Christopher Waisman and his children, his stepsister Sylvia Gale and his stepbrother Ezra Gale. His Dallas family includes his Aunt and Uncle, Terry and Harmon Cohen, his cousins Todd, Kipp and Jason Cohen. His East Coast family include his Aunt and Uncle, Susanne and Richard Atkins, and cousins Richard Atkins, Tom Atkins and James Atkins.

Memorial service will be held on Saturday April 13th at 12 noon at ARIA Cremation Service and Funeral Home, 19310 Preston Road, Dallas, Texas, 75252

In lieu of flowers, please send any donations to a scholarship fund being created for Eric’s grandsons, Raiden and Korban. Checks can be made out to Maureen Waisman and mailed to:

Maureen Waisman

12828 Gillon Drive

Frisco, Tx, 75035

Interment with Military honors will be held at 11:00 A.M., Friday, May 17, 2013 at Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery, 2000 Mountain Creek Parkway, Dallas, Texas 75211.


4 replies on “Waisman, Eric A.”

Pam & Joe Joffre says:

Joe and I are so sorry to hear about Eric passing away. So glad that we were able to visit with him at the Chanukah party two years ago and to see him again recently at Aunt Stella’s burial. I remember when he was just a little toddler and we would visit in Brownwood when he would come to visit his grandparents. We have lost him at way to young of age. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. Love cousins, Pam & Joe, Rod & Kesha Joffre, Jo Jo Joffre & Stephanie McMurray

chris says:

Sorry for your loss. Eric was a nice man and a good friend.

Lynn Collins says:

So sad, so young. Did not meet Eric but benefitted from his expertise on the Awali Teenagers website. My deepest sympathy to all of his close family and friends. Lynn Collins – one of the original Awali Teenagers – circa nineteen fifties.

Nina Waisman says:

This is what I said about my brother at his service. Other family members speeches will be put up here in the following days so check in. thank you.

I thought about what I ought to tell you about Eric – what were some of my fondest memories with him – with the idea that such good memories would reveal to you some of his loveliest qualities.

Now while there were many good times we had over food, drink, playing hide-in-seek all over the neighborhood, etc – the 5-star memories are not those. The top memories I have of Eric are, i must warn you, not on the top of every parents list to celebrate at such a gathering. But I must, to do justice to Eric’s incredibly open-minded generosity.

Eric was an ideal big brother in certain domains. He was the first child, and the first child’s job, if you are considering this from the vantage point of a 2nd or 3rd child – is to set a standard of rebellion and experimentation so expansive, that anything child #2, 3 or 20 does will seem mild in comparison. Eric did this in spades – he paid a big price for it, but man, what a gift he gave to me and Chris.

But more importantly, and what I really mean to say, is that I had in Eric someone I could share my most ridiculous, outrageous, dangerous exploits with – and know that he would celebrate with me what was fabulous and joyful and yes, educational – in all such risk-taking behavior. When it came to boundary pushing, limit-testing, the kinds of all-in engagements that made moderation shake in its shoes – Eric was a master. From that post of mastery, he never took on some higher-than-thou morality or expertise, but instead met you wherever you were in your path of exploration, and he would bubble with the thrill of your shared discoveries.

There was really nothing I could say to him that he would judge or be shocked by – he understood in the most essential way the kind of life source, primal-electric food that is offered only by such “should-i-really-do-this-yes-i-must” experiences. The only things he didn’t tolerate were violence, racism and prejudice, and any kind of menace to those he loved. Beyond that, for Eric, most everything was acceptable – and worth learning from.

Ok parents, time to cover the kids ears. One legal, but still problematic experience I can tell you about began on a day that Eric and I were at home on our own. He was probably supposed to be babysitting me – I would have been around 8 and he around 11. Now I don’t remember who hatched the plan – it could have been either of us…

Oh, but first, a little background. We were living in the Sunset Mesa – an isolated planned community on a bluff near Malibu. Rebellion was in the air. We had arrived there from Utah in the summer of 68, ending our trip with a drive along Sunset boulevard, which presented us with the (to me, age 6 at that time) enthralling sight of princess-like young women with flowers in their long hair, swaying in bright tie-dyed clothes as they smiled huge smiles and flaunted dilated pupils. Eric and i saw this and realized much more was possible in life than we had ever seen in Salt Lake City….

So we set about making our own adventures soon after arriving in the suburban hell of the Sunset Mesa. That day I started to tell you about – my parents had gone out to do who knows what – they must have had Chris with them. And as I say, I imagine Eric was meant to supervise, as he was the older one. But together we agreed, which ever of us suggested it, to bust out of our house, to bust out of the entire boring old Mesa. We knew of a trail leading off the Mesa – down a steep, dry canyon, to we didn’t know where – but to something new. Off we want – a little slipping, a little sliding, dry brush, the smells of sage and the ocean getting stronger as we descended. At the bottom we found a road and a sight we did in fact know – Topanga canyon – the big time! And, even better, a store on that road – one that we knew sold candy. We emptied our pockets of any change we had (from allowance let’s hope) – and bought watermelon and cinnamon Jolly Rogers – and inhaled them all – the sweet taste of liberty ours on the canyon floor. I can say we just about exploded with the kind of complete glee you can only have when you have done things totally in alignment with your desires, without a care in the world, and 100% oblivious for that moment of their impact on anyone else except for the joy you are sharing w/your co-conspirator. We enjoyed this together and we were safe and happy and we knew it (even if others didn’t – oops). It was a wonderful step out of bounds that we shared.

We got back fine – the climb up of course a bit harder, with a few scratches, etc. Maybe it had gotten a little late and little too cool, and for sure i complained, but Eric didn’t make me feel bad for that and made sure we got home together. Oops – our parents had gotten home before us. You can well imagine how much trouble we got in – rightfully so – but I wouldn’t give that memory or experience away for the world.

Our teens, twenties and thirties were punctuated at various rhythms by such adventures, the specifics of which changed over time of course – some of you can imagine what they may have included. But what I want to tell you about – why they matter so deeply to me – is how Eric could be truly radiant in this post out of bounds – this is where he could really expand to his charismatic fullest. He needed this almost-total freedom – he couldn’t be himself “coloring between the lines”, as my dad pointed out. But – outside of the lines, he bubbled, he shined, he sparkled – he would smile the most immense, generous and intelligent simile – that took in the abundance, the absurdity and the pain of life all at once and offered it back warmly, helping you savor the rich mix as he did. And he helped me feel it was okay to see things so clearly, to love craziness and excess and not have to pretend that things were simply peachy keen if they weren’t. These were all things I dearly needed to know.

From Eric’s philosophical vantage point outside of the conventional, he understood a surprising amount about what was going on within the lines of normal behavior – his de-bugging skills, his composure under the high-pressured nuclear armegeddons staged in the Navy to test him and his colleagues – these skills surely came from this outside-in point of view, as did his artist’s eye, his humor, and so many things that were uniquely his.

And from that vantage point, he noted with both pleasure and chagrin, that the perhaps more responsible life “inside the lines” was not for him.

Constitutionally, Eric thought and lived outside the box. This was one of his most sublime qualities – but like all human qualities – it could also cause great pain. That 3000% concentration on the beauty or hilarity or sadness or pain of a moment could be 3000% compelling and meaningful if you were with him – it could also be exhausting, monomaniacal at times, and/or, if you were not there – you may have been left waiting for something else that you needed from him that he couldn’t deliver while he was 3000% absent.

But this is true, to varying degrees for all of us – you can’t ever be there all the time for anyone, as much as you might like to. I know I wasn’t there for Eric anywhere near as much as I wanted to, or ought to have been.

But I love him, and had so many great times with him, along with many difficult times with him which I treasure as dearly as the fun times, because I learned things from him that few people would risk to show me.

So thank you thank you thank you Eric – I should have told you that as clearly when you were here, but I did tell you in bits and pieces and, the sharp observer that you were, I think – I desperately hope – that you know exactly how much you meant to me and why.

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