Eric A. von Tish, 69, passed away on Tuesday, April 11, 2023.
Born in 1953 to Ted and Fran (Stratker) von Tish, Eric grew up in Sayreville, NJ, with his three sisters and one brother. In high school he cultivated a passion for photography, and upon graduating he enlisted in the Navy, where he found his true calling as a Submarine Torpedoman.
After stints on the USS Billfish and USS Pargo, in 1977 Eric was stationed to Naples, Italy. On his first day in Naples, he met and fell in love with Sandy Gunther. They were married within a year, and remained devotedly so ever since.
In Italy, Eric served as the handler of Barney, the finest drug-sniffing dog in Europe. He and Sandy then returned to the United States, where Eric served on the USS Tinosa and USS Pargo, again (and then yet again), before becoming a “molder of young minds,” as he liked to say, at the Navy’s Submarine School in Groton, CT. He retired as a Master Chief in 1996 after 25 years of service, then spent the next two decades writing and editing technical manuals for the Torpedomen who came after him, before finally retiring in 2020.
Eric was a very active parishioner of Sacred Heart Church in Norwichtown, CT, where he was a lector, Eucharistic minister, CCD teacher and coordinator, and Parish Council member, as well a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus in Council 13. He was a lifelong NY Yankees fan, an avid reader and collector of books, and a fan of Bruce Springsteen for so long that he first saw the Boss when he was still an opener for other artists. And he rarely lived without a pet or two if he could help it, loving both cats and dogs (but especially dogs); he is predeceased by Mr. Bill, Ignatz, Tigris, Kimo, Winston, and Agatha.
But above all, Eric was a loving husband, a wonderfully devoted and supportive father, and an endlessly doting Opa.
Eric is survived and dearly missed by his wife, Sandy; his daughter, Anna, and grandchildren, Bella and C.J.; his son, Kurt, and his wife, Krissy; and his four siblings: Terry, and her husband, John; Diane, and her husband, Mike; Ted; and Lisa.
Calling hours will be Tuesday, April 18, from 5-7 p.m. at Cummings-Gagne Funeral Home, 82 Cliff St., Norwich, CT. A funeral mass will be held on Wednesday, April 19, at 11 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church, 57 W Town St., Norwichtown. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Sacred Heart Church or your favorite charity.
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