Jim Erkenbeck always said of San Diego State that he felt the university had prepared him well to face the challenges of life and that’s why he gave so much back to SDSU. Yesterday, Jim passed away due to complications after suffering a stroke, leaving many of us with a deep sense of loss.
An Aztec through and through, Jim was both a former Aztec football player and coach. He earned two degrees from San Diego State from which he went on to enjoy a 15-year NFL career as an assistant coach.
But it was his 20 years in the United States Marine Corps Reserve and strong commitment to honoring the memories of friends and classmates that sustained his involvement with the Alumni Association’s War Memorial committee. Serving as the committee’s chair, Jim was instrumental in organizing the annual homecoming War Memorial Ceremony, for which he received a 2008 Monty Award.
According to his friend and football teammate, Leon Parma, Jim "lived an action-packed life." Still, he always found time to honor the sacrifices and memories of two close friends whose names are on the War Memorial.
“I owe them something and I’m trying to pay them back” he once said of his War Memorial committee involvement. As we mourn his passing, we owe Jim our appreciation and gratitude for his leadership, his service, and most of all, his friendship.