Eric Illjes

Obituary of Eric A. Illjes

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Eric A. Illjes passed away on May 25, 2024. Eric was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1946, to Theodore John and Pauline Illjes. He is survived by his much-loved brother, sister-in-law, nieces, grand nephew, grand nieces and many great friends. Eric graduated from Northport, N.Y. High School in 1964 and went on to earn a degree in Marine Ecology from Cornell University in 1968. Before being able to apply his years of study professionally, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served from 1969 to 1971. He spent one tour in Vietnam in the U.S. Army Casualty and Medivac Division in 1970. His military service would remain a significant part of his identity and life; “service” was his watchword. Later in life he was diagnosed with cancer resulting from Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam. Eric had a wide-ranging career. After returning from Vietnam, he went to work restoring a shad run in the Susquehanna River. (Eric probably would want you to know that the shad is a North American fish that swims upriver to spawn.) After restoring the shad run, he moved to Absecon, N.J. to work on marine studies for Nuclear Power Industries until 1980. He then shifted his sights and went to work designing, writing and testing software for air traffic control at the Federal Aviation Administration Technical Center until 1993. Eric retired from software design to focus on one of his many athletic loves - volleyball. He began assisting with the women’s volleyball program at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, now Stockton University. By 1999, Eric was named the head coach of women’s volleyball at Richard Stockton College and received his first of three NJAC coach of the year awards; the other two being in 2000 and 2006. Before retiring, he compiled a 157 and 90 record and his teams earned two bids each to the NCAA and ECAC tournaments. After coaching, he kept busy pursuing his pleasures. In addition to volleyball, he loved biking, running, birding, clamming, scuba diving, body surfing, golfing, and gardening. Perhaps his biggest pleasure was helping others – anyone who needed it. Even from his bed in hospice, Eric actively helped those who needed it. He was singled out for thanks by multiple Ukrainian military units for his significant and ongoing aid to their soldiers and marines. Eric had a light side as well. Always one to appreciate small victories, Eric was pleased that his Phillies possessed Major League Baseball’s best record as his time was nearing. (Eric certainly would want you to know they still have the best record as of this writing). Eric will be buried with military honors in a ceremony at the Cape May County Veterans’ Cemetery on June 3, 2024. Evoy Funeral Homes, Inc., 3218 Bayshore Road, North Cape May, N.J. 08204 has been entrusted with arrangements; In honor of Eric’s passion for Marine Biology, the family requests that memorial gifts be made in support of the Silba Distinguished Scholarship through the Stockton University Foundation. The Silba Distinguished Scholarship provides an annual scholarship to a student conducting field and research work at the Marine Field Station within the Marine Science Program. Gifts may be made online at and mark the “in memory of” box. Gifts made via check may be made payable to the Stockton University Foundation and mailed to the Stockton University Foundation, 101 Vera King Farris Dr., Galloway, N.J. 08205. Please indicate that the gift is in memory of Eric Illjes in the memo line.
A Memorial Tree was planted for Eric
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Evoy Funeral Home
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Eric Illjes

In Loving Memory

Eric Illjes

1946 - 2024

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