Erik Oviatt's life story is 31 years of love, kindness, friendships, huge smiles, and even bigger hugs. Born December 28, 1989, Erik passed away from an accidental drug overdose on Friday, July 23, 2021 at his apartment in Costa Mesa, California.
Erik experienced great joy and accomplishment in his life. He graduated from Century High School in 2008, was a scholarship student in the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, completed the National Outdoor Leadership School mountaineering training, and later completed degree and experience requirements for the California Drug and Alcohol Counselor certification. Erik was surrounded by close friends at every stage of his life-literally hundreds of close friends. The laughter, jokes, pranks, athletic pursuits, and adventures are numerous and some are legendary. Erik's natural athleticism was expressed in football, basketball, golf (including a hole-in-one), Taekwondo blackbelt, trap shooting, snowboarding, windsurfing and weight-training but it really peaked in his high school soccer career with a very successful senior year as varsity goalie. Though amazingly strong and talented, Erik excelled most at being the perfect teammate-loyal, encouraging, and always picking up the spirits of others. Erik loved to laugh, naturally made almost everyone around him laugh (often inappropriately), and was a pure joy to be with. Growing up, Erik charmed the mothers of each of his friends and they loved talking and laughing with Erik. For many, Erik kept a piece of our hearts that will be with him forever. Our family enjoyed many camping trips, trips to Norway where Erik became close to his grandmother/aunts/uncles and cousins there, time at Lake Kampeska in South Dakota, wilderness hiking adventures, and endless road trips to athletic events. Recently, we enjoyed wonderful times with Erik and his long-time girlfriend, Belle Ogrodowski, in Orange County.
Erik's favorite things were never things-Erik loved people and dogs. Erik has so many deep and lasting friendships from California to Minnesota to Norway. Friends describe Erik as loving, kind, charming, naturally disarming, one of the best huggers ever, able to instantly connect with anyone, a gentle giant, a stud-muffin, and a loyal friend who changed people for the better. Erik and his two sisters have always been true soulmates and they will continue to be soulmates forever. Many comment on how they loved watching Erik's interaction with his family and with Belle-we all shared much love and many good times. Through joys and sorrows, we also truly share unconditional love with our Erik and he with us. That is the greatest comfort of all.
Erik was a gifted drug and alcohol counselor. We receive many kind comments from former clients of Erik and from his recovery friends who express gratitude for his skill and ability to connect with recovering addicts to help them with the challenges of long-term sobriety. Erik had true gifts for helping others in recovery...but that unfortunately was not enough for Erik to find peace for himself. Erik struggled with his own addiction for the past ten years. He experienced several relapses throughout the years, but Erik remained motivated to seek help and to continue fighting his battle. He expressed the same motivation during his final days and deeply sought long-term health--we are devastated that this disease finally overwhelmed our brother/son/boyfriend at age 31.
Our family remains forever grateful for those who were a part of Erik's life. In particular, the selfless support and love of Erik's long-time girlfriend, Belle, and of his two sisters gave Erik additional years of love, joy, and hope. Erik, through his own words of support to a friend who recently lost a sibling to addiction, wrote:
"I understand the struggle your brother went through. I know he tried. I know he fought. I know he loved you guys. I know he had bouts of hope and happiness and moments of complete sorrow. It's done now. He is in a better place. A place where all his struggles are gone and he is truly at peace with himself. You will see him again as the brother who is healthy and he will be able to tell you everything that was never said. I promise. The reason I'm sending this isn't for him. He is happy now. But you are left here dealing with perhaps the guilt, grief, and loss... Take care of yourself and remember he is at peace and he wants you to be happy."
We share these words as Erik's message of comfort to each of you as we all grieve this loss. We also share Erik's words in the hope it may inspire others to redouble efforts to maintain sobriety and to financially support addiction recovery programs.
Erik is survived by his parents, Berit and Jonathan, two sisters, Melissa (Troy) Dickison, and Christine (Drew) Lueders, his amazing girlfriend, Danielle Ogrodowski, and aunts/uncles, nieces/nephews (Jakob, Grace, Henrik & Max), cousins, and several dogs all of whom love our Erik so much just as he loves them. Erik was preceded in death by his grandparents and two uncles. Visitation will be Friday, August 6, 2021 from 4-7pm at Ranfranz & Vine Funeral Home, 5421 Royal Pl NW, Rochester, MN and a Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, August 7, 2021 at 2pm at Ranfranz & Vine Funeral Home with visitation one hour prior to the service. The service will be livestreamed on the Ranfranz & Vine Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Ranfranzandvine. Family and friends are invited to an After Party and time for sharing from 4-7pm at Forager. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to charities that fight drug addiction and facilitate sobriety including: Charle Street First Step House of Orange County http://www.charlestreet.org/donate.php Recovery Is Happening https://www.recoveryishappening.org; Mayo Clinic (designated for addiction recovery services) Mayoclinic.org; or Hazelden/Betty Ford Foundation https://www.hazelden.org/. Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Oviatt family; to share a special memory or condolence please visit www.ranfranzandvinefh.com
Rochester, MN 55901
Rochester, MN 55901
Rochester, MN 55901
My friend, Melissa, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. You were a wonderful, funny and inspiring friend for many years in high school and at the U of M. Wishing you and your family peace. All my love, Kate Renaldo (Buron)
So very sorry to hear this news. Condolences to Berit, Jon and the extended Oviatt family.
Dear Jon, Berit and family, Our love and prayers are with you in the tragic loss of your talented and remarkable son, Erik. We are so sorry for his unexpected passing doing the work to help others cope with their difficult disease. May you be comforted by the gifts which he shared so generously and with great understanding and your love and support as his family. We can not fathom your pain; it’s so unimaginable. Our hearts are with you in this sorrow.
With deep sympathy, Pat and Jerry Hrabe
A good heart has stopped beating, but a heart that has touched so many lives can't help but live on in those it loved. With all our love.Memorial Tree was purchased for the family of Erik T. Oviatt by Anthony & Kayla Hahn & family.
Dear Jon and family,
I am so sorry to hear about this terrible loss in your family. Knowing you, Jon, over the years, I knew your family was a very close and loving one. I hope that closeness will give you all the strength and comfort that you need. My deepest sympathy, Jon, to you and your family. Jessica Grosset.
Dear Oviatt family and friends, we are sorry for the loss of your son, brother, and friend, Erik. We share hope that his work helping others struggling with addiction will continue through those whose lives he touched and the organizations that share his passion for helping others. Please accept our condolences. Kerry and Ed Todd
We are so sorry for your loss of Erik 💙 He will always be in our hearts ❤ and we will remember him with love 💙
Warm regards from Arild and Inger Lise with family
So sorry for your loss.I am out of town and won’t be able to stop by but hopefully I will see you this fall pheasant hunting.Mike and Pam Kanz
jon, berit, and family: our hearts ache for you. losing a child is so, so difficult. may you find comfort in each other and your many wonderful memories. and, may your tears turn to smiles with those memories. we hold you in our thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time. hugs and peace, cindy and rich macrafic
Jon and family, I am so incredibly sorry to hear about Erik. Nothing I can say will ease your pain, but I pray your memories of all the good times you have had together will console you and give you strength during this difficult time. My deepest sympathy to you and your family.
Christine and family. Even though we never met Erik, knowing your loving family, we're sure he was a wonderful person. We are so sorry for your loss. Please know that we are keeping Erik, you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.
Mike and Mary Wenzel Oxford, Ohio