Yesterday, at 8:30am, Dr. Erich Follmann passed on. Erich was a superior friend, colleague, teacher and scientist, and is already sorely missed. He was a warm, inherently likeable man, known for being level-headed and under-spoken. It is hard to find someone who would speak a word of ill against him, as he was not the sort to make enemies. I could learn so much about how he dealt with people.
Though sometimes he felt a bit like an anachronism, I soon found that it was because I failed to see the subtlety of his view of scientific topics. His understanding of wildlife diseases and epidemiology was impressively broad, and he helped greatly deepen our understanding of Rabies in the wild. He passed on so much knowledge to the newest generation of wildlife biologists through thoughtful, deliberative teaching process, both here at the university, and through outreach to the public at large. His knowledge of, and passion for Arctic Foxes was greater than any cliché could encompass.
It's not for his achievements as a scientist I will remember Erich, but as a fundamentally decent human being. I wish I could remember the first time I met Erich with any clarity, but from the beginning, I know I couldn't help but admire and respect the man. He had a warm personality, and was patient enough to always make time for people. More than once, Erich gave me invaluable advice that not only made me a better scientist, but I feel helped me realize what I need to do to become a better human. If I just knocked on his door (the one with the 'immunize your coyote' sticker on it, and the poster from his long time in Barrow), I knew that he would make time for me. It's this I will maybe miss the most.
Erich, you were a great mentor and colleague. You are desperately missed.