It is with heavy hearts we announce the death of Eric Hunter Riebling at the age of 59. Our dear Eric was diagnosed with glioblastoma brain cancer in July of 2019 and we were lucky to have him with us for almost two precious years. Eric was so brave during his fight and remained his brilliant, sweet, cheerful and funny self. His friends and family enjoyed being with him for many good times and gatherings.
Eric was born March 27, 1963 in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. He is survived by his mother Elizabeth (Betsy) and was preceded in death by his father Richard M. Riebling. His loving siblings are Tia Riebling (Michael Lynch) of Walnut Creek CA and Scott Riebling (Kimberly) of Raynham MA plus four nieces and nephews: Braedon Hunter and Tiernan Shay Lynch, and Sophie Maeve and Maggie Shea Riebling.
Eric has many close friends who loved him so very much and hold the most wonderful memories of their friendships. They rallied around him during his ordeal with short trips, wonderful meals out, musical jam sessions and gigs.
In comments by friends he has been described as a pizza connoisseur, a monster musician and a computer and software genius. Eric was a knower of all things interesting. He displayed electrifying virtuosity on the Bass guitar. In addition to his incredible talent, he was funny, brilliant, a little eccentric, and endlessly curious and pleasant and ready to laugh."
Eric graduated North Allegheny High School in 1981, entering Carnegie Mellon University and receiving a BS, EBS in Computer Engineering with a minor of Music in 1985. While at CMU Eric was a member of the jazz ensemble and jazz choir.
When Eric was still in high school he auditioned for Kennywood Park's Raz Matazz entertainment team. Eric auditioned as a guitarist who had played quite a few public venues including the Three Rivers Arts Festival, and often with his sister Tia as vocalist. The Kennywood producers said "Eric we have already booked a guitar player but we loved your audition and wonder if you play bass guitar." Eric replied "Of course" and he was hired. He immediately went to a music store and purchased a bass and amplifier and showed up for first rehearsal as an accomplished bass player. So Eric's very first job was as a musician .
Music was Eric's true passion in life. It is no wonder as his mother's family were singers and instrumentalists and in 1891 his father's family owned the first music store in Pittsburgh, the Jno. Riebling piano and organ store at 1715 (East) Carson street on the South Side.
While still in college Eric became the bass player for The Affordable Floors who were wildly popular in Pittsburgh both in nightclubs (The Electric Banana and Graffiti) and on recordings for MCA records and their own private label. In 1986 The Affordable Floors won the Graffiti Tri-State Rock Competition.
Eric himself won 3 consecutive Pittsburgh Music Awards for best rock bassist - the limit.
In 1996 Eric joined The Gathering Field which signed and toured nationally for Atlantic Records and other labels. Recently he formed a jazz original and cover band called Grooveshifter.
Eric's first day job was as a computer engineer at Conner/Scelza Associates, moving on to The Carnegie Group. He then spent his last years as a Senior Research Programmer in the CyLab at Carnegie Mellon University. A friend said CMU lost a brilliant mind and many of us lost an incredible friend/family member.
Eric - your family loves you so much and you live in our hearts forever.
"For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And when the earth shall claim your limbs, than shall you truly dance" Kahil Gabran
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts be made to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, 1 N Linden St, Duquesne, PA 15110 or online at pittsburghfoodbank.org/tribute.
If preferred to the cancer center that gave Eric such excellent and loving care: HillmanResearch.UPMC.edu/Giving
A Celebration of Life Tribute event will be on Sat. July 16th, at the Shriner's Center in Cheswick PA. Check Shriner's webpage for details.
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