Dr. Erik Austin Close left this world to sail the winds in the sky on July 31, 2020 at 45 years old. If you are quiet, you might be able to hear his boisterous laugh from above. A Celebration of Life will be held at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at Grace Church, 3111 S. 6th St., Marshalltown. For those unable to attend the services, they will be livestreamed on Anderson Funeral Homes Facebook page. Another celebration of Erik's life will be held in Denver for his Colorado family and friends in the next year. The Anderson Funeral Homes of Marshalltown has been entrusted with the arrangements. Online condolences may be sent to www.andersonfhs.com
He is survived by his wife Kelli; his children Austin, Claire and Cooper; his sister Kiersten Wangsvick of Tucson, Arizona; his mother Carla Kuhlman of Littleton, Colorado; and his father Steven Close of Golden, Colorado.
Erik was born in Denver, Colorado on January 20, 1975. By birthright, this made him an avid Denver Broncos fan for life. Possibly his greatest legacy is how he proudly instilled this love of the Broncos in both of his football loving sons. Erik grew up in Arvada, Colorado and Golden, Colorado in the Denver metropolitan area, with a brief few years as a child in San Jose, California. He graduated from Wheatridge High School, in Wheatridge, Colorado in 1993.
He attended the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1997. He always said he loved learning engineering. It fascinated him. But after college, when he entered the working world as an engineer, there was something missing. His heart was not fulfilled by the profession.
In 2003, his heart was fulfilled in another way. On August 31, he married Kelli Hammes near her hometown of Eldridge, Iowa. They resided in Littleton and then later in Highlands Ranch, Colorado and had three children: Austin (16), Claire (13) and Cooper (9).
Erik loved helping people and solving problems, and he usually couldn't sleep until he had a plan. This aided him well with his problem of professional unfulfillment as an engineer. He decided to attend medical school. He spent the next few years taking pre-requisite classes and volunteering at Littleton Hospital in the ER to gain the education and experience it would take to be accepted into medical school. He began medical school in the fall of 2009 at Rocky Vista University in Parker, Colorado. During his time as a medical student, his most meaningful memories were gained while volunteering with a medical mission group, traveling to Antigua, Guatemala three times.
He graduated from medical school in 2013. Later that year, he began his orthopedic surgery residency at Western Reserve Hospital in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, where he and his family spent the next five years. He graduated from residency in June of 2018 and moved his family to Marshalltown, Iowa to begin his career at as an orthopedic surgeon at the McFarland Clinic. He was an extraordinary addition to the McFarland Clinic and the community of Marshalltown. His compassion and remarkable medical intelligence as a surgeon allowed him to help so many patients in the community in the last two years.
Erik was happiest when he was watching his kids play sports. Erik absolutely loved watching Claire play soccer and working with her to develop her amazing skills as a keeper. He had a great knowledge of the sport of soccer and had enjoyed it ever since he was a kid.
Austin started football at the age 6 and Erik helped Austin develop his football skills throughout his childhood. Austin started wrestling and rugby in 7th grade, and these were new sports to Erik. He immersed himself in learning the rules so he could watch and support his son in these activities. When Austin started high school in Marshalltown, Erik became the Team Doctor for the high school football team. He was on the sidelines during all the home games with the team, where he was able to watch Austin play from close range and talk with him and the coaches during the game. As the Team Doctor, he was also able to satisfy his desire to help people, getting to know all the high school football players and applying his medical expertise and compassion when players would get injured during play.
His youngest, Cooper, is an avid "NFL game watcher" and Erik looked forward to football Sundays when they would sit in the living room and watch football, talking about all the teams and players. He loved teaching Cooper which teams were in which divisions and discussing the players that both of them followed so closely.
When he was not watching his kids compete in sports, Erik loved sailing and golfing. He grew up racing sailboats on Lake Dillon in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with his dad and sister. When he lived in Colorado, he owned two sailboats: a Santana 22 and a catamaran. He also loved taking his kids sailing and he looked forward to frequent trips back to Colorado to sail Lake Dillon with them as they grew older.
A newer hobby, Erik started golfing in 2018. He considered himself the "best worst" golfer at Elmwood Country Club. He was such an enjoyable person to be around, and he was honored and humbled by all the golfers at Elmwood that invited him to be in their group, despite his golf skills. He was driven to get better at it. He consistently logged his score and golfed as often as he could, whenever he could. He tried to fit in time to golf daily and enjoyed early morning rounds before work.
Erik was competitive, driven, enthusiastic, caring and loving. But while he was a caregiver to others, he held a lot of his thoughts inside and didn't open up to many people. His family asks that if you or anyone you know is struggling with depression or anxiety and have thoughts of suicide, please get help. Kelli, Austin, Claire, and Cooper want you to know that you are not alone and there is help available through the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (www.afsp.org), the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) and the Crisis Text Line (741741). It doesn't matter how smart, capable, or loved you are. Depression can overcome you.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you honor Erik through a donation to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention or to an education fund that has been set up for his children.
• American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: https://afsp.donordrive.com/campaign/Erik-Close-Memorial-Fund
• Close Family Education Fund: https://www.gofundme.com/f/close-family-education-fund
4 people have supported the family by purchasing them flowers or gifts from the Healing Registry.
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dear doc close i sure do miss you even tho ur gone i its hard on eveyone i sure do miss u when u would come intp the hospital wearing your purple shirt man i miss you alot but i know your watching over me i miss u
Erik thank you for being my friend. It hit me hard when I found out that you were no longer here in the human form.
I will always be grateful for my friend Erik and his relentless pursuit of a solution for anything and everything. We met at AT&T (now Comcast) In 2001 and became fast friends. Erik was an incredible teacher and was always willing to help me out and make sure I learned things the right way. He was patient, persistent and thorough. We shared many laughs and hours together working and I always enjoyed work more because he was there.
He had a great laugh and smile and was quick to laugh as well. He was a fiery and passionate guy which lead to many great conversations and at times arguments but he always had an interesting perspective. I hadn't seen Erik in years prior to being in the hospital while having a major heart attack and he took the time to check in on me, that meant a lot to me.
You were a good man, a good friend and the world was a better place because you were here. Erik you will be missed, I'm sorry I did not stay in touch the last several years. May you be free from the pain of this lifetime and soar with the eagles brother.
Kellie, I haven't seen you is so very long and only met you a handful of times but my thoughts and prayers are with you. And to your beautiful children I never had the pleasure of meeting them but I know they were blessed to have a dad like Erik. Be well and my all of you hearts heal from this huge loss.
The news of Erik’s passing was shocking. His family and everyone’s lives he has touched in any way have been and will be in our hearts. Erik was a dear friend and helped us get through medical school through. He was a big part of our study groups and stress relief through playing pool between lectures and coordinating outings like going to Rockies games, boating trips and poker nights, etc. He will be forever missed.
Kelli, I love and support you.
I think of Erik every time I look at the Wyoga Lake volleyball court, or see a sailboat on our lake. Erik My heart goes out to Kelli and the kids, who will always be part of the Wyoga Lake family.
Wrapping my arms around you and the kids today and every day with love and support.
Kelli and family, we are so sorry for the loss of your husband and kids Dad. He will be missed by so many. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Dick and Judy Hierstein—former neighbors on South 8th st and a patient of Erik’s.
I was fortunate to have worked with Erik for many years prior to his enrolling in med school. Erik was an incredible individual, and I valued his friendship beyond words. Kelli, I am heartbroken for you and your family, and you all are in my thoughts.
Erik, I will never forget the Avalanche game we went to together with co-workers. I will also never forget the chats, positive encouragement and most of all your friendship.
Godspeed my friend...
Kelli, I don't know you but I want you to know I am praying for you and your family. May God be your strength and may you experience His manifest presence in the coming days. Your husband's kindness was such a blessing when my 1 year old broke his arm. My heart breaks for you and your family.
We didn’t know each other but we live in Marshalltown for 12 years my husband work at The clinic our thoughts and prayers are with you and family
Jim and Veronica Demmel
Dr Close was a great doctor and will be missed so much. He did a hip replacement and a shoulder replacement on me last year. He will be one person that I will never forget and was blessed to know. My heart breaks for the sorrow he must’ve gone through and for the sorrow and loss for his family. Hugs and prayers for you all. May God give you all peace. God bless
I met Dr. Close because I needed a knee replacement. On our first meeting, he told me about moving into Marshalltown right before the tornado. The day 'after', he had gotten dressed and equipped to go and help wherever possible. Due to downed power lines, etc. he was not able to help at first and he had felt so frustrated. I knew right then that Dr. Close was an extremely generous person and that became my view of him on all subsequent visits. A wonderful human being!
To Erik's Family,
We are so sad to hear of Erik's death and want you to know we are thinking of you all. What a tragic loss to so many. You are in our prayers.
Close was a great guy and always had a smile on his face. So sorry for your loss. Erik made those around him better! “Once a Farmer, Always a Farmer!” - Ryan Parker ‘94
When I was training to become a Surgical Tech I did one of my clinic rotations in Marshalltown, IA. Dr. Close was an Orthopedic surgeon I trained with quite often and he’s the reason why I grew to love Orthopedics/Sports Medicine. He would refer to Sports Medicine as “Sports Magic” and he would always get so excited whenever I was able to assist in those cases. He was so much fun to assist with in surgery and I’ll never forget his laugh and boisterous personality. I always looked forward to working with him and he never failed to brighten my day. He made me feel very welcomed and comfortable in the O.R. I loved this clinic rotation so much that I considered doing my final rotation there just to be able to work with Dr. Close even more. I am very honored to have known him and gotten the opportunity to work with him. He was very passionate when it came to his career and family... he’ll be truly missed and prayers go out to his family during this time.
My deepest condolences go out to the family. Dr. Close will be greatly missed by us at the McFarland Clinic and by the community he provided such excellent care to.
The world has lost a great man! May you soar across the heavens Erik! Sending love and prayers from Colorado.
Erik did my knee surgery last February. I took a fall in the ice. He was so compassionate and kind. He was one of the best doctors I have ever had. I’m so sad to hear that he passed. What a terrible loss. Sending condolences to his family.
We were devastated to hear of Erik's passing. I recall Erik as a student at Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is remembered as a great friend to many. I can still see his smile and remember his laugh. The world has lost a wonderful physician and an amazing person. Our deepest condolences to Kelli and the children.
My thoughts and prayers to the Close Family in this difficult time… I got to know Dr. Close over the last couple of years as one of his medical device reps in Marshalltown. He could not have been a more down to earth person and a very talented up and coming orthopedic surgeon. He was always eager to learn and I’m fortunate to have spent time with him on multiple surgical training trips. I thoroughly enjoyed helping him in the OR treat his patients. He was always a joy to be around and I always loved his taste in music. He invited me to golf at Elmwood one day last year after surgery, which goes to show you how much of a people person he was. We had lunch at the clubhouse and I was blown away by how many people knew him and gravitated towards him after only being in the community for a year. Anyone who got to know him was sure lucky. He will be missed!!
Eric was my Dr I told him I wish he would have come to Marshalltown yrs before. My heart aches for the family. Prayers for the kids and family Brenda K
I was lucky enough to attend Med school with Erik. From day 1 he was one of the most well known and well liked people in our class. During our first 2 years, we played a lot of pool together between classes and talked a lot about our love for the Broncos, our kids and of course medicine. He was always willing to answer questions and never hesitated to speak up when he needed to. I always looked up to Erik and the way he loved everything he did. He will be deeply missed.
I am so sad to hear this. I will never forget his laugh and smile during med school. We bonded over being parents while in med school at a later age in life. Huge hugs for you Kelli. My heart is breaking for you and your kids. Please let us know if you need anything. Jennifer Arble, DO
Erik made many friends in his short life. I counted myself one of them having met him on a trip to Guatemala. He took time to offer advice and counsel to me on a private matter and kept in touch over the years after he and my daughter graduated from RVU. I have read his posts—he was so proud of his children! And I have his playlist from Guatemala that I listen to frequently. He was always last aboard the bus having taken time to seek out a beer before boarding. And as soon as he sat down the music started and the bus was rollicking. Whether zip lining or practicing medicine, he always had a smile for us. I cherish those memories now and can only offer my heartfelt condolences and hope that you feel the love and support wrapped around you during this difficult time. With my love, Barbara Crawford
I only saw Doctor Close one time, for knee pain, but he was thorough, caring, and totally patient-centered. How sad it is to hear about his passing. Prayers to his family.
Kelli & family,
We met Erik & Kelli at Elmwood and watching the "best/worst" golfer WIN Member guest with his father Steve, will be a memory we will cherish forever....Wednesday golf won't be the same without him. Erik also helped keep all the nervous parents at ease during the Bobcat football games while on the sidelines, treating all the boys with compassion and humor. He will be missed by many...
Sending our thoughts and Prayers....
Kelli - Justin, Maria and I (yes our kid Folk - Levsen, Gross and Orris) are thinking of you and your family. We send all of our love and you will all be in our thoughts. Big hugs, Amanda
To Erik’s family and loved ones, I worked with him in Ohio and was saddened to hear all of this. He was always so fun to work with. And the part in the obit about his boisterous laugh took me right back to it. He will be missed. Peace to him and to you all in the difficult times ahead.
May all the warm memories in your heart wrap around you now, and give you comfort and peace.... GOD'S BLESSINGS...
JERRY D. GADE.... A competitive bridge partner...
I had the honor to work with Dr.Close, a very respectful, compassion, caring person, always had a smile. he always cared for his patients. I will never forget the last time I saw and talked to Dr.Close in the parking lot, it was the day before his passing. Dr. Close you will be truly missed, RIP
My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, his children and his parents.
Very sorry for your loss
Love and prayers Carla, for you and your family. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. God be with you. Love you. Crystal
What a wonderful family that I was blessed to live by and was able to share some time with. One special memory was sitting by their fire pit in the front yard and Eric was singing and having a great time as Austin sat next to him listening to his dad. (and probably thinking this old music sucks!!) Remember how much your dad loved you, kids and Kelli!!! Hold tight to all those special memories.
So sorry to hear the news of the loss of Doc. When he surgically repaired my knee and helped me recover from my fractured leg and ankle he did it with compassion and care. He had such a great sense of humor and loved his job. Thoughts are with the family.
Dr. Close was such an excellent doctor! He took time to listen and to explain. My heart goes out to his family. He will so he missed
I just learned of Dr. Close’s passing and as others have said, I am in shock. I have been a patient of Dr. Close for the past three years and just had hip surgery a few weeks ago. He was an incredible man. So patient and understanding and always had time for questions. His care was beyond words. My thoughts and prayers to his family, and praying for God’s comfort to all who were blessed to be a part of his life.
I just heard about the passing of Erik and needless to say I am shocked ! I was Erik's program director @ Western Reserve Hospital in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. The Orthopedic Surgery Program @ Western Reserve Hospital sends our heart felt condolences to Kelli and the kids during this most difficult and challenging time!...Gregory Hill, D.O.
I got to know Erik when he first moved to Marshalltown. What a nice family and Erik was a great guy and always took the time to talk or share a story or just laugh at the game of golf. So sad and wish the best to his family with their loss. RIP Erik C - you made life better for all that you touched!
I echo many of the sentiments given regarding Erik's care for his patients. When Erik's family first moved to M'town, they temporarily lived across the street. After our son had an injury, Erik provided great care for him. He even stopped over to our house one evening to show us the results of x-rays. Kelli, Nancy and I are praying (and confident) that the God of all comforts will hold you and family in His arms.
We are so sorry to hear of Dr. Close's passing. He was a very good surgeon and treated everyone well. He will be missed by all his colleagues at McFarland Clinic.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Erik's family. Erik was a nice man who would strike up a conversation with you even if he didn't know you. I am sadden to hear of his passing. His presence will be missed in many areas. Our family will miss him in the wrestling room and meets.
As a patient of Dr close he was an excellent doctor who will always be remembered for his time he took to listen to his patients and helped them get better or on the road to recovery he will be missed
Dr. Close was wonderful to work with and made it easy to come and talk to him. He always had a smile. He will be greatly missed!
Our prayers to the family. Dr Close preformed my son's ACL surgery last Fall and put us at easy through the entire procedure. He will be great missed by the Marshalltown community.
Our prayers and sadness goes out to his family. God Bless
I referred many patients to Dr Close in the past two years. He was always kind and professional and gave good care. This is very sad. Dr Christine Lindgren
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