In Memoriam Erik Both
by Willem Hurkmans #8761-L
On September 11, 2013 past Nehosoc chairman Erik Both (Nehosoc#1838) passed at the much too early age of 75 in his home at Elst, the Netherlands.
Erik was a colourful man with an incredible sense of humor, a great heart full of compassion and understanding. However he had lots of guts and a strong backbone which enabled him to stand up to the adversities of life in general, and to govern our Dutch WoodCollectors’ Society as one should – lenient and understanding wherever possible, stern when required.
Erik possessed some abilities that are becoming ever more rare. In spite of his being decidedly well educated and highly intelligent he always treated anyone as equal (although he disliked downright stupid questions like most of us). Some ten years ago he was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer and had been told to arrange his funeral – but he fought it off and lived for another ten years. Such conquests prove what the human spirit is capable of doing. After this miraculous recovery, he decided to spend the rest of his life on enjoyment only.
He had travelled extensively (Kenya, Tanzania, Indonesia) in his working days as an engineer, in part for the Food and Agricultural Organization.
One of his last stints was as the chief administrator of a nuclear power plant – cum- senior consultant for the Institute of Joint Dutch Energy Production Boards.
Erik was an avid sample collector – and producer, he used to have excellent contacts at Wageningen university – whom it was almost impossible not to get along with. He made scores of friends within Nehosoc and was present at the IWCS meeting in Soest in 2009. Erik’s passing not only is a substantial loss to Nehosoc, but to wood lovers in general. His technical knowledge was balanced by his artistic abilities – no doubt inherited from his father who was an acclaimed sculptor and painter. After he resigned as president in 2008, he remained a very active member of Nehosoc who visited many get- togethers and always presented nicely finished wood samples, in most cases with interesting stories attached. He was one of the best wood friends I ever had and he will be sadly missed, most of all by his wife, Ellen.