WILMINGTON - Eric Sprenger, the son of Claus “Joe” and Maryann Sprenger and a beloved longtime resident of Wilmington, died unexpectedly on Tuesday, March 1, doing what he loved while cross-country skiing on Lake Whitingham.
Eric is survived by the woman he adored, his wife and soulmate Barbara LeVan, and his three daughters Brie Beckwith and husband Justin, of Warren; Tyne Pike-Sprenger and husband David Rothman, of Fayston; and Emma Rose Sprenger, of West Brattleboro. Also surviving “Pops” are his greatest joys: his grandchildren Redmond and Frida Beckwith, Wilder and Tulsi Rothman, and Lennon Timmons. He is also survived by his sister Cyndi Sprenger, of Wilmington. Eric was preceded in death by his older sister Claudia Whalen, of Sykesville, MD.
Eric had an engineering degree from the State University of New York in Buffalo. Originally from Wantagh, Long Island, NY, Eric moved to Vermont in the 1970s, following his time in the Army. He found a vibrant ski community in southern Vermont that welcomed him and nurtured his talents.
Over the years he combined his technical woodworking skills, his innate artistic sense, and his brilliant craftsmanship to become an exceptionally gifted sculptural woodworker. His sense of design was the defining signature of his work. In a career that lasted almost 50 years, Eric has produced elegant furniture and decorative items, many of which can be found in beautiful homes and fine galleries across America. While he was also well-known for creating large estate gates and community collaborations, he took as much joy making carved toys for his grandchildren.
Eric was a lifelong elite athlete, playing soccer from childhood into his adult years and then coaching his daughters in Wilmington. He was a runner, mountain biker, hiker, snowshoer, speed skater, and a cross-country skier. Eric was one of the most beautiful telemark skiers that people in the valley can remember.
Eric was passionate about his family, his friends, his craft, and Vermont itself. Besides his sporting activities, he enjoyed gardening and landscaping, playing classical guitar, and constantly sketching new design ideas. He was committed to his community, always there to help others in need. He loved being the biggest kid in the room when playing with his grandchildren. He enjoyed birdwatching through his living room window, especially with Lennon, and looked forward to ski adventures with Wilder, Tulsi, Redmond, and Frida. He cherished family time spent with cousins on Great Diamond Island in Maine. He was always happy to spend his time outdoors, often with friends, communing in the sanctuary of nature as well as in his woodworking shop. But he especially cherished his time with his loving wife Barbara.
Eric’s family always saw him as their grounding force. He was selflessly committed to them throughout his life. His good soul, his artistic nature, his common sense, and his passion for life will carry on through his family.
Church services will be held at the West Dover Congregational Church on Saturday, March 19, at 11 am, followed by a celebration of life at the Memorial Hall in Wilmington from 1 to 4 pm that same day. The family will attend a private interment following the church service and then will move to Memorial Hall to receive family and friends at the celebration of life.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to be made to two local organizations: HatchSpace, which is honored to start a memorial fund in Eric’s name dedicated to educating young people in the artistry of woodworking - PO Box 1526, Brattleboro, VT 05302 - and the Twin Valley Youth Sports soccer program, with gifts designated to renovate their soccer field in Wilmington - PO Box 1458, Wilmington, VT 05363. To send personal email condolences visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com.