How does one sum up the life of a character like Philip “Jay” Erwin? Opinionated, compassionate, ornery, sweet, mischievous and charming, always quick with a joke and even quicker to tell you what he really thought about something, but if you ask anyone who knew Jay, one thing stood out more than any of his other characteristics, the generosity.
A child of the depression, he knew about hard work and the value of a dollar. Not in what it could purchase, but the memories it could provide if that dollar was spent sharing a meal or cup of coffee with someone. He also knew what it was like to go without and did everything in his power to make sure no one that he knew ever went without. There were no strangers to Jay. People with political differences were soon his best friends and his friends were treated like family.
He was a father and grandfather to anyone who needed one and brought joy and companionship to the loneliest souls. Everything about Jay’s life should be an inspiration to all people. He loved his wife in a way that seems completely lost today. She was his entire life and his life was completely devoted to her. He gave new meaning to the term family first. Jay was never absent from a kid’s, grandkid’s sporting event, birthday party, or graduation, and that includes his “adopted” relatives. He worked until he could no longer stand on his own and even then kept trying. He fully realized that material goods meant nothing but helping someone else out meant everything.
Jay Erwin died with $1,549.60 in his bank account but with more friends than anyone could even begin to count. He bought your lunch, filled up your gas tank, slipped you a twenty, took you shopping for groceries or gave you a loaf of bread. Most people strive to leave a legacy; Jay left an empire of people he impacted.
Life changed radically for Jay when he realized the truth of Jesus Christ in 1972. His speech became infectious as he shared the goodness of God to everyone. He loved to give Bibles to his friends, old and new. Jay always said that Jeremiah 33.3 was God’s phone number and John 14 was his favorite chapter in the Bible.
Phillip Kenoyer Erwin was born in Wichita, Kansas on New Years Eve 1927. Jay passed peacefully on August 13, 2010 due to complications from prostate cancer. He was preceded in death by his life and soul mate, Patricia Erwin. He is survived by his son, Kirk Erwin, daughter Cynthia (Michael) Harrington, grandchildren, Trea (Travis) Connick, Dusty Harrington and Kelly Harrington, great-grandchild Taitum Connick and the countless adopted family all around the world. Also Jay is survived by his sisters, Shirley (Bob) Payne, and Kay (Fred) Basley and many other family members.
There will be a memorial on Saturday, Aug. 28, 2010 at 11 a.m. at Trail Christian Fellowship, 18881 Hwy. 62, Eagle Point. In honor of Jay please take someone out to lunch or give a Bible away. Jay would like that.
Arrangements by Conger-Morris, Medford.