April 18, 1924 - February 12, 2015
Ervin “Erv” Eatenson, 90, of Dallas, died peacefully, February, 12, 2015 at his home.
Erv was born to the late Samuel (born in Russia) and Anna (born in Romania) Eatenson , April 18, 1924, in Dallas, Texas. He graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1942 and received his BS in Journalism from Southern Methodist University in 1946 and his MS in Library Science from Columbia University in 1962.
Erv moved to New York City in 1946. Early in his career, he worked as a librarian at Columbia University, first as Graduate Assistant in the Psychology Library and later as Head Optometry Librarian. He moved to San Jose, CA in 1956, serving as Head Librarian of the Science and Technology Division of the San Jose State College Library.
After moving back to Dallas in 1962 to help his ailing father, Erv began his notable career at the Dallas Public Library (DPL), serving leadership roles such as Head of the Community Living Division, Coordinator of Adult Services, Collections Development Officer, Collections Enrichment Librarian, Head of the Current Collections Division, and finally, Special Projects Officer, before his retirement in 1989.
Erv was editor of numerous publications, including “Notable Books, 1944-69” and “The Making of a History for the Dallas Public Library.” He was also producer and host of the WRR radio program, “Bookline Dallas!’ Erv served as editor for “The Sixth Floor: John F. Kennedy and the Memory of a Nation” which opened to the public on President’s Day 1989.
He was a member of the American Library Association; the Association of College and Research Libraries; the Society of Professional Journalists; PEN Texas; and the Press Club of Dallas. He also served on the Advisory Board of The Texas Voices Chamber Choir.
Erv received the PEN Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. To quote Frances Bell in honoring Erv with the award: “We recognize and salute Erv’s deep respect and affection for the right word. He seems to be mindful of the possibility of enriching and delighting his listeners by choosing the precise, the inspired, the colorful word—and, of course, the kind the encouraging, the gracious word. It may be that Ervin Eatenson’s most treasured contribution to our group is the simple gift of his gentlemanly presence and his lively, witty, and civilized conversation.”
Passionate about the arts, Erv was an avid patron of theater, opera, the symphony, museums, and film. He had a collection of Playbills dating back to the 1940s when he lived in New York. He regularly attended area arts events, even into his late 80s.
A self-described “foodie,” Erv adored dining with friends and experiencing Dallas’ fine restaurants. He was especially fond of fried chicken by those who “do it right.”
Erv had friends from all walks of life and treated those around him with dignity and respect. He will be greatly missed.
Erv is preceded in death by his parents, Sam and Anna Eatenson; his brother, S. Lawrence Eatenson; and his beloved poodle, the incomparable Shanti.
He is survived by his sister, Zelma Kahn and her three children— Bob Kahn (Lynn Levy); Ted Kahn (Frona)and Patti Kahn (William Kornfeld) all of whom live in the in the San Francisco Bay Area of California; his sister-in-law, Esther Lee Eatenson of Dallas and her two children, Steve Eatenson (Linda), of Fort Worth and Jodi Eatenson (Steve Tinkler), of Santa Fe, NM; and his goddaughter, Jade Whitney of Dallas. He is also survived by loving grandnieces and grandnephews; his caregiver, Michael Preng; and a host of long-time friends.
In lieu of flowers, gifts and memorials may be made to organizations meaningful to Erv: Friends of the Dallas Public Library, KERA, Friends of WRR; The Texas Voices Chamber Choir; and the UNT School of Music.
Erv’s ashes will be buried with his parents at Temple Emanu-El Cemetery. A celebration where friends and loved ones can raise a glass in Erv’s memory will be announced.
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