Eric John Leaf was born in Visalia, in Tulare County, California on February 5, 1960 to Allan L. and Irene (Duncan) Leaf, both from Skagit County, Washington. Eric attended Rancho Cotate High School in Rohnert Park, CA for his Freshman and Sophomore years before relocating to Wiesbaden, Germany, where he attended General H. H. Arnold High School for his Junior and Senior years before graduating with the Class of 1978.
At Rancho Cotate HS, Eric was in the California Scholarship Association. At HH Arnold HS, he participated in the German Club and was on the Student Council. Eric was in the National Honor Society his Junior and Senior years, serving as Secretary/Treasurer of NHS for the 1977/1978 school year. He was the 1978 Senior Class Treasurer, and Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper, called Smoke Signals. Eric also ran track and cross country, played football on Coach Tom LeBlanc's AAA Champion winning team, and if that wasn't enough, he also joined the wrestling team for his Junior and Senior years at HH Arnold.
Fellow Wiesbaden Warrior Lamar Longineau confirmed that Eric headed to the University of California at Berkeley on a Wrestling scholarship in fall of 1978. It was during wrestling practice at Berkeley that he passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack on September 21, 1978 at the age of 18. Eric's life was cut tragically short, but during his short time on this earth, he did a lot of living.
Eric's passing was published in The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, California on September 24, 1978. Eric was survived by his parents, Allan L. and Irene (Duncan) Leaf, and his sister Abigail. He is buried at Green Hills Memorial Cemetery in Burlington, Skagit County, Washington.
From Lamar Longineau, Class of 1980:
I first met Eric Leaf back in September 1976. I was a freshman, class of 1980. Eric was a junior class of 1978. I lived in Hochheim. Eric lived in Delkenheim. We rode the school bus together. Long daily rides. Hochheim, Florsheim. Delkenheim. From there to Lindsey Air Station to drop off the elementary school kids. From there to Hainerberg to drop off the WJHS Kids and HH Arnold kids. We often arrived 30 minutes prior to the beginning of classes.
Eric and I often had very long conversations. We both grew up in California, music, movies and especially sports. Eric was an honors student. During the fall he was a member of the Varsity Football team. In the winter he was on the Wrestling team. In the Spring he was on the track team. He was also very involved with student government as well as one of the editors for our publication Smoke Signals.
Eric was a very caring individual who got along well with everyone. It didn't matter if you were a jock, partier, black, white, Male or female. He felt that everyone had something to offer irregardless of their values or differing ideologies.
Eric graduated with honors in June 1978. He received both an academic as well as a wrestling scholarship to Cal Berkley. I attended his going away party. He had just recently turned 18. He settled in to Cal and began classes and wrestling practice in September 1978. While at wrestling practice he suffered a fatal heart attack and was pronounced dead. A few days after his death there was a small article about it in the Stars and Stripes.
Myself and many of my classmates were stunned. I cut out the article and taped it my 1978 year book next to his senior picture. Eric only lived for 18 years but during those 18 years he touched the lives of many.
Eric Leaf will never be forgotten and will always continue to be alive to all of us that had the fortune of knowing him.
Rest in peace, Eric. You are dearly missed by so many who remember you.