Eric Charles Gustafson, age 40, died on September 9, 2016, while answering an emergency call as a firefighter for Meridian Fire Department in Meridian, Mississippi.
He was born in New Orleans on April 28, 1976, and was the beloved son of Dr. Harry and Jan Gustafson, brother of Todd Gustafson and Lori Gustafson Lundgren, brother-in-law to Stephen Lundgren, and father to Jessica Lynne Gustafson.
Eric showed a great love of mathematics early on in his education, earning a state award in physics while attending high school. His college studies brought him to Mississippi State in Starkville, Mississippi, and then on to USM in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where Eric continued his pursuit of a B.S. in math and applied for graduate studies for his master’s. In 2012, Eric moved to Meridian, Mississippi, where he completed his studies with the Mississippi State Fire Academy on January 30, 2014, and joined the Meridian Fire Department and Union Local 52 of the IAFF.
Eric was proud to be a father and a fireman, and he thrived in both roles.
Eric’s inquisitive mind, always asking questions, demonstrated varied interests in math, tutoring, music and guitar playing, philosophical writings, and an avid interest in jogging and running marathons. He loved the outdoors and camping with his precious Jessica.
The great joys of Eric’s life were his family and his faith. He was devoted to Christ and wanted everyone to love the Lord as he did. To quote Eric, “The first time I called out His name from the bottom of my heart, my life changed forever!”
Eric left a strong legacy of love for his family and friends. He was a son, a brother, a father, an uncle, a nephew, a cousin, a friend to many, and lastly he was a proud firefighter. Eric is sadly missed by all who knew and loved him.
Posthumously, Eric was awarded the Medal of Honor from the International Association of Fire Fighters.