The Village of Lake Success honors one of its own
On Oct. 11, a group of 25 locals gathered on the diamond and more than a hundred watched them play softball after naming the Lake Success field in honor of their fallen teammate and long-time Great Neck resident, Eric Alper.
Eric—“E” as he was affectionately known—was a resident of Lake Success and an extremely active member of the broader Great Neck community. Sadly, he passed away after a hard fought year-long bout with brain cancer this past June. He had many professional accomplishments in the fields of accounting, taxation and finance over his 58-year young life. But it was his incredibly selfless, passionate and positive demeanor that is universally echoed by those that knew him. He was an avid all-around athlete, coach and mentor to so many local children. His far reaching impact will now have extra staying power in the village he called his home.
Even though the event had to be pushed out a couple of times into the riskier fall season, Eric was kind enough to bring glorious weather for the crowd, which showed up in spades for him despite the 5:00 p.m. midweek start-time. This only served to accentuate the “wow” factor for the evening in celebration of a truly special and remarkable person.
After a few words of both remembrance and inspiration from Eric’s wife Jeri, his father Richard and the Mayor of Lake Success Adam Hoffman, also a close personal friend, the new commemorative sign bearing his name was officially unveiled on the backstop of Eric Alper Memorial Field. The color scheme reflects E’s undying love for the Michigan Wolverines, where he went to school in the ‘80s and for which he bled blue his entire adult life.
The field had been meticulously beautified by the Village of Lake Success Public Works crew in anticipation of the event. When it was time to play ball, former player/manager Glenn Darnell shared a quip with the group to put a smile on everyone’s face, and Jeri threw out the ceremonial first pitch. In true Lake Success softball fashion, she turned out to be the best pitcher on the field that night!
Notably, no one got injured. It’s not clear which team won the game, but there were many accolades, including a thundering triple by Eric’s eldest son Brett to start things off and a home run blast by Sam Weinbaum. Eric’s other son, Reid ripped a deep shot to left-center field but, true to form, his older brother shagged it at the last second in ESPN “Play of the Day”-like fashion (his mother was overheard summarily asking “why’d you do that?”).
A fun time was had by all, and there is talk of this becoming an annual event—no doubt with even more fanfare, as Eric always brought with him in everything he did.
Rest in peace, E!
—Written by Russell Soloman