Eric Vartdal of Fort Myers died peacefully at home on Nov. 23, 2009 after a courageous battle with ALS Disease. He was 48.
Born in Minneapolis, Minn. on May 22, 1961, he moved to Sanibel in 1970 where he grew up - the ultimate island boy. He attended Sanibel Elementary School, Canterbury School and Cypress Lake High School, from which he graduated in 1979. He also attended the University of South Florida in Tampa and Edison Community College.
Eric worked for many years on Sanibel in the vacation rental business as well as at The Timbers restaurant. He was an avid fisherman and hunter, enjoyed playing golf and watching Gator football. He loved gardening and he especially loved growing his beloved fruit trees.
He is survived by his loving wife of 26 years, Judi, and their son, Eric II; his parents, Robert and Sharon Vartdal; a brother, Brett, and his wife Manya; a sister, Lolly, and her husband, Greg; and many nieces and nephews. Eric was loved by many, many friends.
"He was my first friend on Sanibel," said Kip Buntrock, who arrived on the island two years after Eric. "He had two years head start on me in terms of learning how to be an islander. We went to school together, boated together, fished together, went water-skiing together, camped out on North Cap and Cayo Costa. He taught me how to be an island boy!
"And then, as time passed, I got to witness someone truly dedicated to his family - we could all see that. It's a terrible thing that he had to be taken from his family - from all of us - this young."
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5 at Faith United Methodist Church, located at 15690 McGregor Blvd in Fort Myers at 1 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Eric Vartdal Family Fund, c/o Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, P.O. Box 187, Sanibel, FL 33957.