Eric Pas

Eric Pas 5/21/1948-11/21/1997

Family- Wife: Michele; Children: Aaron and Jonathan

Eric grew up in Cape Town South Africa in an Orthodox Jewish home and neighborhood. He attended a prominent Jewish Day School called Herzlia. Later, he attended the University of Cape Town where he earned a bachelor's degree in engineering and a master's degree, also in engineering. He taught urban transportation planning at the University of Cape Town before coming to Northwestern University in Evanston Ill. in 1975 to begin his doctorate at the Transportation Center at Northwestern. He moved to Durham, NC, with his wife, Michele, at the end of 1979 to begin teaching at Duke University in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Eric was a dedicated teacher, beloved by his students, respected by the faculty and highly regarded both nationally and internationally. Though Eric worked hard to build his career he was completely dedicated to his family.

Aaron and Jonathan remember that Eric was always in a good mood, and had a contagious personality that made people happy. Eric had a highly infectious laugh and it was nearly impossible not to let out a big smile upon hearing it.

The two sons remember two stories about Eric that showed his humor, his style of fathering and devotion to the family. In the winter, Eric started his mornings by walking down the driveway, barefooted, to get the paper. Before school, Aaron remembers that he would get one warning that it was time to get up. He would hear "AJBP" (his initials), Time to get up." If he didn't move, he would feel his father's ice cold feet on his legs. This would be followed, however, by the oatmeal that he had already cooked for Aaron and then a quick drive to school, before Eric headed to Duke for the day.

"Our parents were big believers in a strong family unit and one way in which we practiced this was by sitting down together each night as an entire family for dinner," his sons said.

Eric supported Michele and the boys as they went on extended visits to South Africa each year to spend time with grandparents.

Eric loved sports. Although he became a Duke Basketball fan, his love of soccer never faded. On countless days, he would kick a soccer ball with the boys for hours at the Duke practice fields. For about five years, Aaron and Jonathan went to soccer practice during the week and had soccer games on the weekend. Not only would Eric bring the children to practice, he coached their teams, each one on alternate years. This was typical of his parenting: He was always fair.

Eric was dedicated to Judaism, its traditions and moral beliefs. He was involved with the Jewish community both in Durham and at large, donating money and volunteer time. In particular he would reach out to those less fortunate, a value that he instilled in his children at an early age. Eric showed them by example from walking in the annual CROP hunger walk to encouraging them to drop pocket money into their tzedakah boxes.