Eric’s life ended too soon!
Eric Seelenfreund was a curious child, observing everything around him, and always asking questions. He grew into a unique young man who found joy in researching and uncovering the answers. He liked to solve problems and learn new things.
A true renaissance man, Eric was an excellent clarinet player, earning ﬁrst chair in high school and in the wind ensemble in college. Statistics indicate the odds of any adult male bowling a 300 game are 11,500 to one, but Eric had one. He bowled in a weekly league with his dad. He also played in the number one slot on his high school tennis team, winning 70% of his matches.
A member of his college debate team, and minoring in philosophy in college, Eric loved to argue any and all topics—especially with his best friend, his sister, Claire. He was usually the smartest person and most logical person in the room. A strong mathematician, Eric began taking college math classes in high school. The salutatorian for his class, Eric delivered a memorable graduation speech. He began working in research at the University of Colorado Medical Center Oncology Department when he was just fourteen and published his ﬁrst paper soon after graduating high school.
Eric earned degrees in both math and micro and cellular biology from CU Boulder, with a GPA of 3.93, with only one A- and one B in four years. While he awaited decisions on his medical school applications, he continued research associated with melanoma and potential treatments using RNA therapies. Eric wanted to be a surgeon and help people. He was accepted into CU’s medical school three months after his death.
Introverted, Eric suffered from social anxiety. Yet, he had a dry wit that his peers in the lab, and friends and family all enjoyed. He was humble and kind, liked animals, hiking and being outdoors, ﬁshing, skiing, and snorkeling. Eric enjoyed memorable family beach vacations and hiking in the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park, as well as the annual “Bros” ﬁshing trip with his dad and uncles. He enjoyed belly boating with his Uncle Howie on Chatﬁeld Reservoir and ﬁshing together on Fridays. He had fun visiting his Uncle Steven in New York. Eric met his closest friend, Alex, in fourth grade, and they remained friends through high school and college.
Because of Eric’s death by substance use disorder (SUD), his family’s experience transformed from simple statistics to personal tragedy.
“Friends were lost. We felt we failed as parents, especially not recognizing the depths of his psychological issues the last six months of Eric’s life,” his father, Bruce, said. “He left a hole in our life that is impossible to ﬁll. Hopes and dreams for his future were dashed and his limitless potential went unﬁlled.”
They miss his unique humor, hearing what he was learning, doing, experiencing, and hugging him.
Eric’s mother, Lorie Lifrieri, and his father, Bruce Seelenfreund, provided the information for this narrative.
July 15, 1992 – October 26, 2015-Age 23
Portrait Artist: Jeremy Hebbel
Narrative Writer: Lynne Mixson