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Charles Freeman 'Boots' Erb

September 20, 1925 December 24, 2013
Charles Freeman 'Boots' Erb
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Obituary for Charles Freeman 'Boots' Erb

In Vacaville on December 24th, 2013 at age 88, Boots passed quietly into a better place where there is no pain and no dementia to hold his body and mind hostage. He is free now to join his first born child, Krista Elizabeth, his mother Verda, his father Charlie, his grandsons Charles and Chaz, and of course, the many special friends who went before him including Bill Laws, Jackie Jensen, Duke Zenovich and Donnie Gale. Boots was born in Oakland on September 20th, 1925 and lived there until the fourth grade when he moved to his grandfather's ranch in Winters, CA. From the fourth to the eighth grade he went to school in a one room school house with one teacher for all eight grades - each row a different grade. In the ninth grade he went to live with his father in Los Angeles and to attend Black Fox Military Academy where he met Sid Chaplin, Charlie's son. When Boots' father was called into the service in WW11, Boots had the extraordinary experience of living with Sid, Charley Chaplin and his then wife, Lita Grey. He attended Los Angeles High School where he excelled at the position of quarterback and was named to the All City team. After high school the Cal love affair that had started with his father being an All American quarterback on the Wonder Team at the University of California @ Berkeley continued from 1946 to 1950 where Boots played quarterback becoming the first father/son to quarterback in the Rose Bowl. During his winning football years at Cal his coach was the extremely popular and successful Pappy Waldorf after whom the Pappy's Boys group is named. Boots loved the Blue and Gold, the Saturday afternoon frustrations of the losses and the exhilarating highs of the wins, his Phi Psi brothers, the atmosphere of Memorial Stadium and most of all his teammates. He was a Golden Bear to the very end. After college Boots and his best friend and teammate from fourth grade and Cal, Jackie Jensen, MVP of the Boston Red Sox opened the Bow and Bell Restaurant in Oakland in Jack London Square in 1954. In its 25 years the restaurant became a Mecca for sports figures from all sports who were always greeted enthusiastically by Boots while Jackie was away playing baseball. Boots was a highly engaging host who loved making everyone feel special. He kept in excellent physical shape with two games that he loved his entire life - golf and handball. Boots is survived by his wife of 54 years, Karal Anne, children Kelly Erb, Chuck Erb and Anneliese (Dave) Stanton, grandchildren Eddie, Alli and Jack, his sister JoAnn MacNeur, mother-in-law Vivian Skidmore (96), brother and sister-in-law Tom and Myra Skidmore and many nieces and nephews. In 1991, Boots and family returned to Winters where they have resided on their walnut ranch for the last twenty two years. Boots loved being back at the ranch where he felt 'at home.' He was a friend to all, always seeing the best in people and always giving them the benefit of the doubt. He was a wonderful generous kind man with a huge heart. Our family wishes to thank one and all at the Vacaville Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center for the loving compassionate care Boots received each and every day. We are truly grateful to these selfless caregivers. If you wish to make a donation to this incredible facility, they are located at: VCRC, 585 Nut Tree Road, Vacaville, CA 95687. God bless and keep this sweet man. We will love and cherish his memory forever.

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