Eric Otha Mealy was born in Riverhead to the late Otha Mealy and Dorothy Mealy. He was the third of four children: Monica Mealy Barnes, Kimberly Ann Mealy and Brian Otha Mealy.
Eric loved the Lord and his family dearly. As a young child he attended North Fork Baptist Church in Mattituck and Calvary Baptist Church in Riverhead, where he was baptized.
Eric was raised in Mattituck and attended Mattituck-Cutchogue School District. While in elementary school, Eric engaged in community service with his brother, Brian, as founding members of the “Mattituck He Men” 4-H Club, which was led by Dorothy Mealy. Eric was also a star Little Leaguer, hitting numerous home runs for his teams.
Eric graduated in 1993 from Mattituck High School, where he participated in the yearbook and the German Club. He traveled to Germany with the student exchange program. Eric was a talented musician; he played the alto saxophone in the band, the marching band and the jazz band. He performed with the chorus and was a member of Smooth Harmony, a quartet that sang the national anthem at the 1992 graduation ceremony. He played varsity football and also wrote for the school newspaper and the literary magazine. Eric was a member of the National Honor Society and was selected by his classmates to be the class speaker at commencement. For the text of his speech, he drew inspiration from Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and of good courage … ”
Eric graduated from Swarthmore College in 1997 with a degree in history and black studies. While at Swarthmore, Eric was active in the Swarthmore African American Student Society (SASS), the gospel choir and an a cappella group, among other student organizations. Eric also hosted his own radio show and was a driver for the campus safety shuttle.
Eric attended Pace University Law School and did paralegal research work for a time. He also worked as a videographer for community programs at Cablevision. A lover of books and education, Eric was a student of history, politics and civil rights. He assisted his mother in organizing local history and Black History programs. Along with his brother, Brian, Eric operated a small online bookstore called KEB Books.
Eric was a generous, loving and caring man. He was deeply dedicated to his family. Eric loved his three beautiful and smart nieces dearly and enjoyed Skype sessions with them. Affectionately known as “Uncle Eric” and “E,” Eric’s favorite family summer tradition was a birthday celebration at Veterans Park beach in Mattituck after the Mattituck Strawberry Festival. This celebration also fell on Father’s Day weekend, so it was a family affair.
Eric also loved attending car shows and fishing with his dad. He enjoyed taking road trips with his brother, Brian, and his dad to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., to visit his sisters and to see the monuments, especially the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.
He was dedicated to his family and the community. He volunteered at the Salvation Army and CAST, regularly assisting his mother, Dorothy, in organizing and distributing school supplies and food to those in need. Eric was a man of his word. He was a kind, gentle, compassionate and humble soul, always putting the needs of others above his own. He lived according to the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” Luke 6:31.
Eric was an outstanding artist and skilled author of short stories — children’s and young adult fiction and science fiction. He was a great communicator who had a great sense of humor. He was also a connoisseur of comic books.
Eric was a self-taught master chef. He would often cook for the family with love. Among his other avocations were drawing, grilling, listening to gospel music, politics, going to the movies and sporting events, and watching the beautiful sunset off the Long Island Sound with his brother.
Eric was called home to be with the Lord on July 25, 2017. Eric is survived by his sisters, Elder Monica Lynn Mealy-Barnes of New Zealand and Dr. Kimberly Ann Mealy of Washington, D.C.; and brother, Brian Otha of Mattituck, a Board of Education trustee. Eric is also survived by his brother-in-law, Ian Jeffrey Barnes, and his beloved nieces, Jamilah Briana Barnes, Joharah Erica Barnes and Amirah Aroha Barnes of New Zealand. He is also survived by a host of aunts, uncles and cousins.
Eric Otha Mealy was a strong, principled, giving person. He blessed his family with his thoughtfulness and presence. We love you Eric — our Son, Brother, Nephew, Uncle, Friend, Neighbor, Artist, Musician, Writer, Singer, Linguist, Historian, Dreamer, Thinker, Teacher and Believer … Our Eric.
Memorial donations may be made to CAST, castsoutholdtown.org, or the American Red Cross, redcross.org.
This is a paid notice.