Eric Barton Katzenberger, age 39, ended his own life on August 10, 2019 after a lifetime of struggle with chronic pain, life issues, and addictions. He spent his last day on Earth in the mountains surrounded by great friends. A Visitation will be held Wednesday, August 14th from 4 to 7PM at Croxford Funeral Home. Funeral Service will be at 2:00 PM on Thursday, August 15th at Croxford Funeral Home in The Rose Room Chapel.
Eric was born March 12, 1980 in Great Falls, Montana to Loren and Sheryl Katzenberger, of Highwood. He is survived by his parents of Bozeman MT; his two beloved dogs, Gizmo and Buddy; aunts and uncles: Sandy and Joe Wirth of Coeur d'alene ID, Linda Knoche of Great Falls MT, and Lyle Katzenberger of Highwood MT; brothers and sisters: Carl and Jessie Katzenberger of Saskatoon SK, Alice Vanderlinde of Bozeman MT, Jamie and Mike Hurd of Bozeman MT, Charley and Ally Willett of Neihart MT, and Katie Boedecker of White Sulphur Springs MT; nieces and nephews: Avery and Shawn Patrick, William and George Gold, Bridger Boedecker, Herschell and Esmie Hurd, Claire Vanderlinde, Andrea McKinney, and Emily, Riley and Drew McWalter; plus many cousins, extended family and dear friends.
Eric spent his early years on the farm at Highwood, MT until his family moved to Saskatoon SK in 1985 when his father, Loren, started a manufacturing business, Precision Metal Fabricating in Saskatoon. He attended St. George Catholic School in Saskatoon until 1991 when his family relocated to Rosetown SK where they lived until 1993. Eric then moved to Montana with his mother, Sheryl, and attended Blessed Trinity School, where Sheryl taught. In 1994, the family moved back to Rosetown where he excelled in track and cross country before returning to Saskatoon and finishing at Holy Cross High School.
In 1999, Eric met and married the love of his life, Renee Walker. At this time, Eric was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a debilitating form of arthritis which caused him great pain. Thanks to a trial medication, he was able to function somewhat normally, although usually still with some pain.
Eric loved playing Softball with Renee and his friends, the Black T-shirt Gang, who were a force to contend with. The next few years, Eric worked at Precision Metal Fabricating, and was very proud of the work he did there. He also loved anything with wheels, and driving fast. He fixed up and sold cars, and built a very nice F-body Mustang that his father still has, and a Smokey and the Bandit car. Eric also had a car detailing business, and took great pride in transforming cars into like-new condition.
During all this, Eric struggled with substance abuse to cope with the on-going pain and life issues. He entered numerous treatment centers for his addictions, and was successful for various periods of time. In spite of his valiant and persistent efforts, and the love and support of his wife and family, Eric would ultimately relapse and succumb to his addictions. Unfortunately, the stress and strain of all this was too much, and his marriage to Renee failed.
Eric then bought, fixed up and sold several houses, with the help of his parents, brother, Carl, and others. It was his dream to move back to Montana, and he did so in 2018. He went to work for Valley Glass, in Bozeman, where he proved to be a lifting machine until a shoulder injury forced him to quit. At the time of his death, he was working on a house up the road from his parents’ and looking forward to moving in soon.
Eric was one of a kind & there will never be anyone like him. He had a huge, courageous heart, and a generous spirit. Although he continued to struggle, he always strove to lift others from their pain. Eric had an endearing smile, and loved to make people laugh, often at his own expense. Even though we will miss him greatly, it gives us comfort to know that Eric is forever free from pain, and knows how much he was loved.
Condolences may be shared with the family at www.croxfordfuneralhome.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Eric Barton Katzenberger, please visit our floral store.