Services were held Thursday, April 25, 2013 in the First Church of God in Hugoton with Pastor Gary Ausbun and Pastor Richard Martin officiating. Burial was in Hugoton Cemetery.
Eric was born Sept. 6, 1936 on his family farm on the Redline near Palco, Kan. to John and Ethel Gustafson. He married Freda Ann Ausbun on April 22, 1957 and together they raised five children. He earned a bachelor’s of science degree from Fort Hays State University in 1964. Eric taught junior high in Bogue, Kan., for several years before becoming a principal at Bogue High School after earning his master’s from Fort Hays. He spoke often and with great pride and fondness of his students and this time in education.
In 1976, Eric and Freda returned to Moscow-Hugoton area where he embarked on a series of various jobs: farming, truck driving and many years as a service manager at Trentham Ford. He also served on the school board for Moscow school district.
After his retirement, Eric continued to stay busy and most recently enjoyed working as a truck driver for Kramer Farms.
A man of tremendous faith, Eric enjoyed a life-long commitment to the Lord and his church. He was very active in his church and held a multitude of leadership positions and filled a number of diverse roles including succeeding his father as treasurer at the Redline Church of God. After returning to Southwest Kansas, he continued to be an active member and leader of Hugoton First Church of God.
In 2008, Eric was diagnosed with colon cancer and began his battle with the disease. Sustained by his faith, his fight was an inspiration to family, friends and any who met him. Eric continued his struggle with strength, courage, determination, and unwavering faith. He passed away surrounded by the family he was so proud of and cherished so much.
He is preceded in death by his parents; brother, Robert; and grandson, Jacob Valek, as well as a host of other family and friends.
Survivors include his wife, Freda; their five children, Debra and husband Phil Wilson of Washington, Kan., David and wife Toya Gustafson of Hugoton, Resi and husband Bill Valek of Wayne, Kan., Steven and wife Brandy Gustafson of Panhandle, and Lisa and husband Matt Whitham of Moscow.; 16 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren; and sister Margaret Ninemire of La Junta, Colo.