December 27, 1934 ~ June 17, 2021

Born in: Lincolnton, NC
Resided in: Charlotte, NC

Eric Andrew Jonas, Sr, 86 and a lifelong resident of Charlotte, NC, died peacefully after a brief illness on June 17, 2021 at the NC State Veterans Home in Black Mountain, NC. The son of Donald R. Jonas and Annie W. Jonas of Lincolnton and Charlotte, Eric was born December 27, 1934 in Lincolnton, NC.

Eric graduated from Central High School in Charlotte where he played varsity basketball and golf. He competed in state and national golf tournaments including winning the NC CGA Junior Golf Championship in 1952 at age 17, and advancing to the fourth round of match play in the U.S. National Junior Amateur Golf Tournament. He made lifelong friends at Central High and was an active member of the Central High reunion monthly gatherings into his 80s.

Eric graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1956 majoring in English, was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity, active with the ROTC and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He was a lifelong Tar Heel basketball and football fan.

Following graduation from UNC, Eric served three years as a first lieutenant in the United States Air Force with posts first in Texas and then in California as a navigator on the 437th Fighter Interceptor Squadron. He was accepted to Harvard Law School and moved to Boston in 1959 where he met his wife of 59 years, Darlene Evans Jonas, who was attending graduate school at Boston University. Eric liked to say the chance meeting of Darlene at a Thanksgiving meal gathering was one of the happiest days of his life. He would also quickly add that it added to his joy that day when Carolina beat Duke 50-0 on national TV!

Eric and Darlene’s wedding on May 26, 1962 at Trinity Church in Boston followed his final exam at Harvard Law the previous day. The couple moved to Charlotte and started their family. Eric worked as an attorney with the Dotson Palmer law firm for several years before joining Weinstein Sturges as a partner where he practiced real property law and family estate work for over 20 years, and then in private practice until retiring in 2011. Eric was a 50 year member of the North Carolina Bar.

Eric was a life time member of the Central YMCA (now the Dowd Y) since his childhood and an active member there into his 80s. He made almost daily visits to the Dowd Y for nearly 50 years. Eric served on the Y board and as Board chair of the Dowd Y in addition to coaching his kids’ basketball teams.

Eric was a 40 year member of the Charlotte North Rotary Club, serving in several leadership roles including Rotary president. Eric was also a lifetime blood donor to the Red Cross.

When golf took too much time away from the family, Eric took up tennis. As an adult he played competitively at Barclay Downs and Olde Providence and played in the 1999 Senior Games NC Tennis Championships.

He loved being a father to his four children, taking care of his tomato plants along with body surfing at Ocean Isle Beach every summer with his family. His favorite trips with friends and family included attending the Masters Golf tournament, Wimbledon, US Open Tennis and the French Open.

Eric was a member at Myers Park United Methodist Church in his youth, at Mouzon United Methodist when he first returned to Charlotte and for many years active as an elder at Covenant Presbyterian with his family.

He loved being a native North Carolinian, embodying the state’s motto, Esse Quam Videri, “to be rather than to seem.”

Eric never met a stranger and was always quick with a smile of acceptance followed by a series of his favorite jokes and puns. Eric ordered a personalized license plate (4WAYTEST) to share his appreciation of Rotary’s Four-Way Test of the things to think, say or do:
● Is it the TRUTH?
● Is it FAIR to all concerned?
● Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
● Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Eric followed these tenants in his own life, leading to close, lifelong friendships and friendly daily encounters. Eric (Dad, Pops, Papa Bear, P-bear) was deeply loved and cherished by his family.

He is survived by his wife, Darlene Jonas, now of Asheville; his children Eric (Rick) Jonas of Asheville; Jim Jonas and his wife Karin Jonas of Wichita, Kansas and their children, Markey Jonas of Wichita and Bennett Jonas of Denver, CO; Don Jonas and his wife Debbie Jonas of Charlotte and their children, Henry Jonas, MaryElizabeth Jonas and Finn Jonas of Charlotte; Annie Jonas and her spouse Stacey Enos and their son, Gabriel Enos of Asheville; his sister, Alice Jonas Fernandez (Dr. Javier Fernandez) of Columbia, SC and their sons, Wyeth Fernandez and Bryce Fernandez of Columbia. He is also survived by Darlene’s sister, Claudette Warlick and her children.

A celebration of Eric’s life will be held at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC on July 10th at 11:00 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations to The Dowd Y or the Greater Carolinas Region of the American Red Cross are warmly appreciated.

Friends and family are encouraged to add their thoughts and remembrances of Eric online with the Groce Funeral Home at www.grocefuneralhome.com.

For questions about the memorial service please email jim.jonas@gmail.com.

Services

Celebration of Life: July 10, 2021 11:00 am

Covenant Presbyterian Church, Charlotte, NC
1000 East Morehead St.
Charlotte, NC 28204


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  1. I did not know Mr. Jonas, but I am a friend of his son, Jim. He sounds like an amazing human and a true champion for making his community better. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

    Becky Tuttle

    Reply
  2. Words fail to express my sorrow for your loss. I was truly fortunate and honored to have met Mr. Jonas and help him last year. Although it was only a short time, he taught me plenty. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

    Peggy Dyer

    Reply
  3. Long before he was P-Bear, Eric was known to me as the father of two of my college classmates. Being fortunate enough to live near Annie and her family for decades now, I have experienced first hand the love and devotion of Eric and Darlene, to each other and to their children and grandchildren. He did love them with all of his heart. He and I also bonded over the Tarheels and the law and I always enjoyed our talks and his wry sense of humor. I remember him talking about how in sport, law, and community, there really is no “other side,” and we laughed about how we even needed Duke basketball in the world. I experienced him as a person of kindness, honor, and integrity, and my deepest sympathies go out to his dear family.

    Reply
  4. I am so thankful to have been welcomed as a part of your family and I will always cherish those memories. I love you and miss you Papa Bear!

    Reply
  5. Eric was a fine gentleman and a great lawyer. He leaves a wonderful legacy of a loving parent and grand parent. He will be missed by those who loved him and respected him.

    Reply
  6. Sad to learn of Eric’s passing. I have fond memories of the years we were in Sertoma together along with both of us being involved with old Central Y. Eric was one of the good guys and a fine man. Prayers for his family.

    Reply
  7. Eric was my partner at Weinstein Sturges before I joined another firm. He was an intelligent and thoughtful lawyer who always had time to offer advice and help others. He was responsible for my joining the Dowd Y. I am thankful for our professional relationship and for our friendship. I pray that Darlene and his family will find peace in many wonderful memories.

    Reply
  8. Mr. Jonas was truly a kind, southern gentleman, who loved his extended family very much. I knew him as Don’s Dad, when Don played soccer at MPHS. I also saw him almost every time I went to the Dowd Y where he was a regular and known by so many. It was with great sadness when I read his obituary in the Observer today. But Mr. Jonas left this earth with much to be proud of, his extended family are individuals who are committed to doing good and serving others. May Mr. Jonas rest in peace.

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  9. Eric has been a wonderful friend for so many years. He was one of the most ethical, caring, positive thinking, and totally good person one could ever know. Our sympathies are extended to Darlene and family.

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  10. We were fortunate to have the Jonases as neighbors when we moved onto Henshaw Rd . Eric was such a fine man.
    Our sympathy and caring thoughts to Darlene and family

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  11. My dearest Annie–in reading your father’s obituary, I see him reflected in you. Like you, he created ways to meaningfully engage in family, he was immersed in the betterment of his community, his was a life dedicated to service. What a beautiful example he provided, and that you are carrying on. May you feel surrounded by wishes of comfort and love.

    Reply
  12. I first met Eric in 1987 when he was with the law firm of Weinstein and Sturges and the real estate attorney I worked with on behalf of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education. Eric was always meticulous in his analysis of an issue while being sensitive to competing points of view. He was a true gentleman, very personable with a keen sense of humor. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

    Reply
  13. My thoughts are with all of you as I remember what an amazing man your husband and father and grandfather and friend was. I have such fond memories of being teased and teasing Eric right back. He had a gentle soul and a big heart.

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  14. I knew Eric from my days at working at the Central and then Dowd Y.Eric was always a gentleman and always had kind words to ask and say about me.He would ask me about my golf game but being the gentleman that he was he never talked about his golf championships.Later on we enjoyed teasing each other about our two Carolina Teans.Mine the Gamecocks and of course his beloved Tar Heels.

    Eric, Thanks for being a gentleman and friend.

    My prayers are with the family.

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  15. Thanks Dad for being such a wonderful person. Your friendliness to all whom you met served as a model for us all. I love you.

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  16. Eric was such a delight to collaborate with in business. Our relationship was further enhanced by my pledging with Donald at Chapel Hill, and our mutual admiration for Lincoln County & its history. I shall always hold Eric in the most fondest of memories, and in the highest of esteem.

    Please accept my deepest sympathy.

    Reply
  17. I feel lucky to have had Eric and Darlene as friends and neighbors in Barclay Downs. Such a witty, smart, kind man! We’ll all miss him.
    Thinking of you, Darlene, and the younguns!
    Eric, Donald, Jim, and Annie.

    Reply
  18. My husband, the late Jim McCorkle, was a classmate of Eric’s at Central High School and we used to attend the monthly class breakfasts in Charlotte. Eric was the founder and driving force in keeping this tradition alive.
    And Eric’s uncle, Senator Charles Raper Jonas, was the man who appointed my brother to West Point! It’s a small world, and I’m privileged to to have had the opportunity to have known Eric.

    Reply
  19. Our heartfelt condolences to Darlene and the Jonas family. Eric had a gentle strength and inherent kindness but most of all abundant joy in living life to its fullest. We loved his enthusiasm for ping pong when tennis was no longer feasible. A life lesson for us all.. We are grateful to have known him.

    Reply
  20. Eric’s warmth and friendliness was so evident to neighbors. He unfailingly called out a hello, with a wave and a smile. The family he helped raise with the incomparable Darlene is a testament to the man he was.

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  21. I had the good luck to be introduced to Eric late in our professional careers through Richard Meek, a mutual acquaintance and friend. Eric was such a pleasant and genuine person. I was privileged to get to know him. I mourn his passing, and regret I did not get to see him again during the pandemic.

    Reply

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