Dr. William Henry Erb Jr. of Rose Valley passed away on July 24, 2018, surrounded by his adoring family.
The son of Dr. William Henry Erb Sr. and Sarah Ann Smith, he was born in 1939 in Philadelphia. Bill grew up in Ridley Park, Pa., across from Taylor Hospital with his two sisters, Patricia and Suzanne. He graduated from Ridley Park High School in 1957 and Mercersburg Academy in 1958. He continued his education at Haverford College, where he majored in history and was the captain of the basketball team. He graduated from Haverford in 1962 and then went to the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, following in his father’s footsteps and becoming a surgeon.
In 1963, Bill married Ursula Koenig from Assmannshausen, Germany, in her hometown along the Rhine River, in the heart of wine country. He then interned at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut and spent four years as a surgical resident. His residency, like many others during the Vietnam War era, was interrupted by two years in the U.S. Navy, where he served as a lieutenant commander and senior medical officer on the aircraft carrier USS Boxer.
Bill returned from naval service and dedicated himself to his family, career and community. He joined his father’s practice, Baker, Erb and Cronin, in Ridley Park. For over three decades he was a practicing general surgeon at Taylor Hospital, Riddle Memorial Hospital and Presbyterian Medical Center, University of Pennsylvania. Also like his father, Bill remained dedicated to the education of doctors by instructing medical students at the University of Pennsylvania. He became president of Taylor Hospital’s medical staff in 1987 and vice-chairman of the department of surgery in 1990.
Bill retired in 2000 and began a second career in philanthropy, giving generously to many charities. He served the Ridley Park community as a board member of the Taylor Hospital Foundation, where he was especially dedicated to hospice care and academic scholarships. Throughout his life, he believed in the importance of education, and he supported the University of Pennsylvania through the William H. Erb Scholarship Fund, which had been established by his father and mother. Like his father, Bill was a proud member of the Academy of Surgery in Philadelphia.
In his early retirement years, he enjoyed traveling throughout Europe and the United States. His favorite places were Assmannshausen; Avalon, N.J., where he proposed to his wife; and Skytop, Pa., a place where he spent many holidays with his family. In his later years, he enjoyed his garden, his wife’s Early American decorative art, the Rose Valley Swimming Pool, and living in Rose Valley, Pa.
William H. Erb Jr. was a wonderful father to his three daughters, Heidi, Kristin and Margit. They grew up in a household full of love and joy, and they are grateful for his love, kindness, generosity of spirit, and support.
He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Ursula, who loved him dearly; his three daughters and their husbands, Richard Anderson, Richard Gusick and Michael Parillo; his four grandchildren, Anika, Martin and Henry Gusick and Benjamin Anderson; and his two sisters. He will be remembered dearly by his many wonderful friends and co-workers, grateful patients, and one cute schnauzer, Wylie.
Family and friends are invited to his Funeral Mass and celebration of his life on Wednesday, August 1, at 10 a.m. at St. John Chrysostom Catholic Church, 617 S. Providence Road, Wallingford, PA 19086. There will be a calling timeto visit with Bill’s family on Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the church.
His burial will be private.
In lieu of flowers, contributions made in Bill’s memory to The Community’s Foundation (TCF), 900 W. Sproul Road, Suite 101, Springfield, PA 19064 or to The World Surgical Coundation, P.O. Box1006, Camp Hill, PA 17001 would be appreciated by his family.
Condolences may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Arrangements are by the Griffith Funeral Chapel in Norwood, Pa., www.griffithfuneralchapel.com.