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Eric Appleberry

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Eric Appleberry

Eric Appleberry

Eric was born on Feb. 27, 1941, to Lynton and Valeska B. Appleberry, and took his last breath on Jan. 18, 2017. He was a man who loved his wife, his children, his vegetable garden, his dental profession and helping others.

Eric grew up in the village of Yellow Springs, a place and community that remained close to his heart throughout his life. At age 12, just before starting 7th grade, he began working at the Yellow Springs News doing odd jobs as a “printer’s devil,” and within a year was running the huge 1895 Babcock press. He credited these early years for his later ability to easily “read” his dental patients’ mouths upside down and backwards. According to a 1958 newspaper profile, he was known at the print shop for his technical expertise, calm under pressure, impish humor and feisty spirit. These traits never left him.

After graduating from Bryan High School in 1959, Eric attended Ohio State University, where he pursued his future wife Patricia Paxton and his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree with equal dedication and resourcefulness. He and Pat married in 1964 and were soon joined by daughters Jennifer and Nicole. In 1968 Eric entered the United States Air Force; the family was stationed in California, then Japan, where daughter Gretchen was born. In 1972 they moved to Ann Arbor, where Eric earned his specialty degree in periodontics at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. He then taught at the university and eventually transitioned into full-time private practice.

At home, Eric made time for nightly family dinners, frequently illustrating scientific concepts for his daughters on a seemingly endless series of napkins. He enjoyed playing folk guitar and caring for tropical fish in his 75-gallon saltwater tank. Influenced by his parents’ homesteading, Eric and family moved to the countryside east of Ann Arbor where he spent many a happy hour planning and working in their giant garden. He loved taking long runs down dirt roads, soaking in the sights and sounds of the rural landscape.

Eric always chose to move forward through challenges with a positive outlook. Even after a spinal cord injury in 1998 left him paralyzed from the chest down, he concentrated on what he could do, not what he couldn’t. He recruited friends to help adapt his John Deere tractor with hand controls and a boat-winch-powered seat lift. An avid photographer, he continued to document family gatherings and the beauty of nature. He kept up with a wide circle of friends through the magic of the internet.

Eric’s wholehearted commitment to serving others took many forms over the years. He was devoted to his patients and meticulous in their care. After his injury made private practice impossible, he found other ways to contribute to his profession and community. He reviewed articles for the Journal of Periodontology and served on the UM Medical School’s Institutional Review Board. He volunteered as a member of the Dean’s Faculty at the UM School of Dentistry, providing students with a long-term practitioner’s perspective. Although he had received a number of awards throughout his career, he felt particularly honored when the periodontal program’s graduating class of 2011 selected him for their Faculty Appreciation Award.

Eric was a member of the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor and served as its treasurer and on multiple committees. He worked with organizations advocating for people with disabilities. In order to give hope and practical advice to others newly facing life with paraplegia, he wrote articles for and helped edit the UM spinal cord injury program’s SCI Access newsletter.

On toasting occasions, Eric would raise a glass to those unable to be present, through death or otherwise. He believed that those who have died live on in the hearts of the people whose lives they touched. Eric carried in his heart his parents, Lynton and Valeska, and his sister, Valeska Lynne Lindner.

Eric is survived by his wife of 52 years, Pat Appleberry; daughters Jennifer Appleberry, Nicole (Craig Bertram) Appleberry and Gretchen (Dylan) Peters; grandchildren Ian and Kat Peters; brothers Kim (Christine) Appleberry and Brian (Gabrielle Mikula) Appleberry; sister Karen Appleberry; cousins Bill (Marie) Appleberry and Brenda (Michael Walker) Becker; nieces, nephews, extended family, feline soulmate Tarzan, dear friends and many others who were warmed and inspired by his compassion, generosity and indomitable spirit.

A memorial service will be held on Feb. 18, 2017 at 11 a.m., at the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor, 4001 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48103.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor or the Humane Society of Huron Valley, or simply think of Eric as you share an act of kindness in the world.


One Response to “Eric Appleberry”

  1. annie schnurer says:

    Eric is and was such a wonderful man I had the honor of knowing him as a youngster Valeska and Lynton taught me so much about gardening meditation Adele Davis and little things like making mayonnaise When sent out to the garden Somehow all of the tomatoes and strawberries did not make their way into the house Lynton and Valeska Karen and the lot on Shuberry Lane entered into my life at a very impressionable age Karen and I were inseprable As my own birth mother crossed over young I had reacurring dreams of vivid memories. I was 12 or 13 before I realized where they came from. Karen and I were and are best buddies. We walked to the Vail. It was then when I realized where the dreams came from. Marie,my mother must have been friends with the many people that lived on Shuberry lane. It was so refreshing to open my eyes to those dreams.
    At that age for me I was and am a sponge to learn. Lynton and Valeska had wall to wall books as did my father Herman Schnurer. I followed Valeska around like a small child even though I was a teen.I hungered for the knowledge and aura that surrounded the home. There was so much love there the same as when my parents were. I was 16 and yearned for a mother figure. With agreement and blessings My father and the Appleberries allowed me to stay in the cabin behind the house.
    I had my first car a red V W bug with an eight track player. Karen and I misbehaved incredibly and we would drive around in the snow behind Y S High and spin the car around in circles. Yellow Springs was a liberal village and we would go to Ampac and then to the bakery for ww donuts at the bakery. That was back when Dick and Toms had a soda fountain. I worked at Y S I for a time and then fell in love with working at the Little Art theatre and the bookstore for Gail Lichtenfels. We earned 1.40 an hour at the Little Art. After we finished selling the tickets and doing our homework we got to peek through the doors and watch the movies, and to top that off we were allowed to take a guest for free any night we weren’t working. The best of both worlds. At the bookstore if it was slow it was as if we were in the library. After our duties were preformed we could read read read. I really don’t recall much crime then until there was a woman whose life was taken in Lima. Yes the YS police would issue a citation for riding a bike while being intoxicated however that was about the extent of the most serious crime then.
    Jim McKee was the Top Dog with a heart bigger than a breadbox. And again as I have said we didn’t lock our houses. They were quaint and carefree days. Many of us from Y S have spread out worldwide and met each other in different states and countries. And to this day I imagine there was so much heaven on earth in Y S in the 60’s. Many codolences to the family as we cross over we are free we can breathe and be free of pain we do reunite with our parents and love ones lost And to the family many blessings Tonight and for the next few nights I light my minaura in honor of Eric Karen and the Family that so enriched my life in so many ways.

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