We are so thankful to those of you who have already submitted stories to be published. While we enjoy reading them and asking permission to share publically, we invite you to read this article by Eric’s good friend. Prepare to laugh and be inspired. Thank you for sharing, Steve.
“From jumping out of 3-story windows into snow banks in Argentina, to exploring exotic cities on our ski travels around the world I always felt safe when I was with him. We pushed so many limits that I never imagined I would get anywhere near. When I won my first World Cup race the first call I made was to him. He had just retired the season before, and I wanted him to know that “we did it”. Eric Keck taught me so much along the way, and showed my how to push beyond doubt. It didn’t feel right to enjoy that day without him being part of it. He had an unbridled sense of self confidence. An adventurous spirit. And he was an infectious person to be with. Kecker, you’ll be with me forever.” AJ Kitt
“The world lost a great man 3 weeks ago. Eric Keck died suddenly at age 52 having lived the life of four men. He was an incredible father of 4 extraordinary children, a husband to be emulated, an instigator of legendary and always risky exploits, an iconoclast, a PHD, a special needs teacher, a school principle, a builder of rat rods 20 years before they became popular, a horse trader, a graduate of Columbia, a jerry rigger, athlete extraordinaire, football team captain, and the heaviest skier to compete on the US World Cup downhill ski team. He created and built so much in this world. His personality and interests overflowed societies expected boundaries. Many at his funeral shared that he made them feel like his best friend, me included. He was truly interested in the things you were. He wasn’t afraid to describe the potential he saw in you right to your face, and remind you about it as the years passed. Mostly he was a disciple of Christ. One of the best examples I’ve ever known. He loved life and he loved people. “- Bill Burgess
“Eric was my hero and my best friend.” Many of the stories also touched on his love for Jesus and his incredible generosity. Although I will never be able to duplicate a fraction of the accomplishments he was able to wedge into his short 52 years, I want to live my life more like Eric Keck did.”-EN
“I first met Eric in our USST days, where he was always the entertainer in chief, keeping us all in stitches whenever the men’s and women’s teams had training camps together. We reconnected in New York, when I was working for SKI magazine and he was playing for Columbia. He and Beth took me in for dinners in their tiny apt, where they were always feeding a handful of his teammates as well. My favorite Keck story comes from that time, and I may have some details wrong, but it went like this: Beth had stepped away from her music career to move to NYC and take care of Eric and Zion. They lived up by the school on 118th and Broadway. One day Eric discovered there was a free piano on the east side (midtown or lower I think), and knew he had found the perfect present for Beth. He called on that legendary strength (none of which is exaggerated) and pushed it along the street all the way uptown and crosstown to their tiny apartment. Funny, kind, loyal, devoted, tough, loving…Eric Keck was one of a kind and we’ll miss him so much. -Edie Morgan”
Today I will start with generosity. Eric was far too extraordinary a person for just one to claim as his best friend, so I will share that title with all that knew him well. However, I still am his original best friend, and that title I will not share. As his son, Thunder, said, . . . his spirit lives on and follows me now everywhere I go. I agree; His inspirational spirit will live on with me until I am able to see him again face to face.
” Why I Iove Eric: When we were on the US Team, I took a massive crash at a downhill in Fernie, BC. I was knocked out cold. Woke up wrapped up in the fencing. There was the stretcher, coaches, patrol, etc. It’s amazing that I remember everything about that day now, but then, I couldn’t even remember what country we were in. Eric was right there next to me as they were strapping me in to take me to the hospital in the ambulance. “Hey Todd, you good?” “I think so,” “I responded: “You sure?” He asked. I kind of gave him a glazed look. He asked “What’s your wife’s name?” I couldn’t remember. “What are your kids names?” Still no memory of my kids. Eric looked at the paramedics and said: “You fellas better get him to the hospital quick.” The doors to the ambulance shut and the ride to the hospital was a haze. But I do remember the paramedics asking me about my wife and kids of whom I couldn’t remember. For those that know me, you see why that’s less a “how touching Eric really cared about me story” and was really a “Kecker is a an insanely funny guy” story. For those that don’t know me: I was about 21 years old, no wife, no kids, not even a dog. But how I tried for hours to remember my non-existent family unit.He was always trying to get you to do something with him, more than often against your better judgement, but it always wound up being a good time. The first to cheer you on when you kicked ass and also the first to laugh with you to try and lift you up when you were down. The best cheerleader.Eric is my eternal brother, he is always with me. And when I need a laugh he makes me laugh. I have Eric to thank for many great times. Miss you, my buddy. “- Todd Schneider
” I knew him at NECI where he was the Dean of Students. His job not so much to recruit but retain. Once we were going to lunch, which he routinely offered to buy me, which is brilliant because it was free, and a student passed him and said “how are you today Dr. Keck?” to which he humbly replied “Better then you” and the student laughed and went about his day. It was brilliant in a way that only he could pull off. Reading this, I realize just how humble a man he was. I knew he went to Burke and skied with the US Team, but only because others told me, in awe of his legend. He was/is my friend and he could have been a gold medalist, Nobel Peace prize winning author, super bowl winning billionaire and I imagine I would still know him best as a man who gave great hugs, made me laugh when I wanted to cry, and offered to buy me a free lunch just to get me out of my office. Understanding his legend makes me more grateful then ever to have been a bit player in his story”. -Jamie Pinkham
” Eric called and talked to me about a Doctor of Ministry program that he was considering and wanted to know if I would be interested in it as well. In short, he was the catalyst that helped me complete a long-time dream, writing a book, and publishing it. Who knew that our first meeting with him would lead to a dream fulfillment for me. I’m sure that he did the same for many over the years. He was just that kind of a guy. ” -Winn
” I was a fresh recruit on the cycling team, and Keck was one of the ringers who would later go on to help GMVS secure the New England Prep School Championship. I was pretty light in 10th grade, so I could out-climb Keck pretty easily, but God help me if he was anywhere near me when we got to a sprint finish. I was comfortably ahead of him in a training ride, but as we sprinted for the line, somehow he roared past me, sounding like an 18-wheeler that sucked me up into its wind vortex, and I remember seeing something I’d never seen before: his entire bike frame was flexing side to side with each downstroke of the pedals. He had so much horsepower, the damn frame looked like it was about to snap. I didn’t even know that could happen to steel. But sure enough, even though he dusted me, he tossed out a “Good sprint, kid” to me as we both spun down cooling our legs.
He was never the type to rub his success in your face. He needed you to feel good about the outcome, too. Make sense to me he became a teacher. And a father. And a policeman. And a minister. There was no glory in it if others couldn’t share in the fun, too. Miss ya, Keck. Look after us up there. ” – Mark Radcliffe Writer / Creative DirectorNYChttp://www.markradcliffe.com/
“With his encouragement, dedication, compassion, and assisting at my job, he would want me to continue my path in becoming a science teacher. More than a boss, he was a mentor, a friend that I always look up to. Thank you for everything, Dr. Eric Keck.” -Brendon Clement
” Eric was ALWAYS there for us in the “NH elements” snow and torrential rains are challenges for our driveways! Coming home from work and having a path cut up the snowy driveway was certainly a welcome and much appreciated site to see! Recently the torrential downpours the first week of July created serious sink hole areas and by the time we got home Eric had raked the entire driveway! He was there for us when our plow truck tipped over in the ditch, pulled another car from a snow bank and helped us out with a frozen pipe one January!Eric was a genuine friend and neighbor and we were privileged and honored to know him. He truly is in the loving arms of God and will never be forgotten.” -Rita