Cover photo for Eric T. Carra's Obituary
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1968 Eric 2023

Eric T. Carra

April 23, 1968 — March 8, 2023

Eric T. Carra, 54, Rockford, died Wednesday, March 8, 2023 in OSF St. Anthony Medical Center. Born April 23, 1968 in Chicago, son of Judith A Syc and Thomas Carra. He graduated from Auburn High School in 1986, received his Associates degree from Rock Valley College, his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Rockford College in 1991, majoring in theater arts. He then studied for two years in the MFA program in theater arts, specializing in lighting design, at Mankato State University in Minnesota. Returning thereafter to Rockford, he found employment in retail sales in a number of venues: principally Best Buy, Gateway Computers, and Walden Books. He then went on to being manager of the North Town Mall Radio Shack and eventually manager of the Machesney Park Mall Walden Books. For over ten years he then became initially Assistant Manager, then Manager of the Rockford University Bookstore. He had most recently been employed by FirstSource as an insurance claims adjuster.

Eric was a voracious reader all his life and surrounded himself over time with an enormous collection of books of all sorts. Baseball was one of his abiding passions, especially all things related to the Cubs and Wrigley Field. For years he managed the Carra Generics in the local Fantasy Baseball League Club and at least once, won the season. Science Fiction makes up more than half of his book collection. Military history, especially revolving around the battle of Midway, had an entire bookcase devoted to it. On a lighter note, he collected over the decades a huge collection of rubber duckies of all sizes, shapes, and colors. Japan was another fascination. He loved the cuisine, he loved the trains, but in later years his tastes tended culturally more toward modern Japanese kitsch--manga and anime predominantly--and he avidly collected books, videos, and figurines in these genres.

For over twenty years he maintained an online blog, adding up to hundreds of posts, called Wonderduck’s Pond, and yes, rubber duckies are a recurring theme. But he wrote about all his major passions: baseball, military history, Formula I car racing, the music videos he loved or loathed, and anime, to name a few. Any mention of politics was strictly verboten. The blog had numerous followers, many of whom became his friends. The very last post he entered, on a laptop one of his blog friends had bought for him so he could continue blogging when he became a resident at the River Crossing Rehab Center, was on November 23, 2022, entitled “Silver Lining.” In it he describes, with the very distinctive slangy panache of his writing style, the insertion of a PICC line up his arm and down into his chest to begin the first heavy-duty antibiotic treatment of the emergent MRSA infection, which three months and three hospitalizations later would end his life.

Lying underneath all of Eric’s technology fascination, there was a great big soft heart. Not everyone knew about that. He loved cats, and they returned his love. Marbles, Darth, and Rumpole held a special place in his heart. And he had special human friends who meant everything to him. I think they know who they are. His Great Aunt Lilly (from Philip’s side of the family) was one of them. Dr. Kathleen Smith, who has taken such gentle care of the family cats for decades, is another. He will be deeply missed.

This would not be complete without recognizing, with the deepest, most heartfelt thanks, the wonderful critical care team who took care of Eric during that difficult, long last night: his two exceptional critical care nurses, Stephanie and Eric; Deana, the palliative care nurse practitioner; and at the end, the beautiful, prayerful, calming presence of Sister Simona that blessed all of us who were present, not least of all Eric.

Survivors include his step-father, Philip (Christine) Engblom; uncles, Emil (“Duke”) Syc, and Joe (Shea) Chew and their families; beloved Great Uncle Gene (Chris) Kwiat; and cousins, Donna (Dean) Heinle, Glenn (Tracey) Kwiat, Karen (Larry) Morgan, Christine Jachec, and their respective families; and Paul (Sarah Scot) Kwiat and Nancy Jachec.

Predeceased by his mother, Judy Engblom in 2009; his grandmother, Olga Chew in 2008; his grandfather, Emil Syc, Sr. in 1950; and his step grandfather, Joe Chew, Sr.

A time to come together to honor and share memories of Eric will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, March 24, 2023 in Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory, Mulford Chapel, 1860 S. Mulford Road, Rockford, IL. 61108. If unable to join us in person, the service will be available by Zoom, use the following link to attend. Zoom ID: 810 290 6045 Password: 1234. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to PAWS, 7282 N. Cherryvale Mall Dr., Rockford, IL 61112. Share memories and condolences at

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Friday, March 24, 2023

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory - Mulford Chapel

1860 South Mulford Road, Rockford, IL 61108

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