Obituary of John F. Erdmann II
John F. Erdmann II passed away peacefully in his home in New Canaan, CT on April 28th after living an amazing family-oriented and adventure filled 90-year life.
John was born on June 3, 1932 in New York City, and in 1941 his parents Sturtevant and Wilma Kohler Erdmann moved to New Canaan where he and his sisters grew up. After graduating from the New Canaan Country School, The Choate School and Colgate University in 1954, John honorably served his country in the US Air Force and following that he received an MBA degree from Columbia Business School in 1959. John married the love of his life Tanis Higgins in New York City in 1961. When they decided to raise a family, the couple bought the house across the street on Rosebrook Road where he was raised. Married for 62 years, they have lived there ever since.
John embarked on a career on Wall Street and worked for several financial firms before he purchased a seat on the New York Stock Exchange in 1970 and became an independent broker, commuting daily from the New Canaan train station. Many years later, he retired from Wall Street to devote the rest of his life to enriching others' lives through charity and volunteering. He was best known for his 32 dedicated years at the Norwalk Maritime Aquarium, teaching wide-eyed children about the biodiversity of the Long Island Sound.
John was known for many things that made him the guy you wanted to be around, whether he was your friend, his kids' friends, a relative or just about anybody. His sense of humor was legendary - clever, witty, old-school and at times so absurd that it made the laughter even better. His memory was impeccable as he recited old jokes from his childhood and even Shakespeare in his final days to his sons.
Most notably, John was an avid outdoor sportsman and adventurer which he instilled in his sons and grandchildren from their earliest days. Stories of his college skiing adventures were epic. If he wasn't on his favorite playground in the Long Island Sound teaching his boys how to catch bluefish and stripers while commanding a boat, he would be on a stream in the forest fly fishing for trout. A crack shot, John was a master with sporting firearms. Whether on the skeet or trap field, deep into the sporting clays course, or in the morning mist hunting for pheasant, grouse or deer with his best friends, sons and grandchildren, he was never hesitant to give you advice on how you could improve as he loved teaching his craft. Every year he would spend his favorite three weeks in the endless mangroves and flats off Harbour Island, Bahamas fly fishing for bonefish where he and Tanis had made their annual vacation pilgrimage since 1962. His sons and grandsons truly cherish and miss the "alone time with Adda" for endless hours together in the sun learning to fly fish, and to this day they are still catching fish on flies that he tied for them decades ago. He also spent many years building custom fly fishing rods in his basement for those that he knew would appreciate the quality.
Forever a family man, John was also adored by his sisters Judith and Pamela and especially his nieces and nephews who humorously called him "Unc the Skunk" in the spirit of his self-deprecating and inclusive sense of humor. The holidays were always happy family occasions and John would toast the event with famous speeches that would remind us how thankful we all are.
John is survived by his wife Tanis and his three sons John F. Erdmann III (Jeff), daughter-in-law Barbara, Gregory Sturtevant Erdmann, daughter-in-law Lisa and Robert Higgins Erdmann, daughter-in-law Shannon, his grandchildren Thomas, Charles and William Erdmann, Jessica and Annabelle Erdmann, and Tyler and Jack Erdmann. He is also survived by his two sisters Judith Makrianes and Pamela Erdmann.
In lieu of flowers, donations in John's memory can be made to the Norwalk Maritime Aquarium. A Celebration of Life will take place at the Country Club of New Canaan on Thursday, June 1 at noon.