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In Memoriam: Don Erwin

Written by Judy Rees

The Republican Party of San Diego County Voter Registration Team will be forever grateful to Don Erwin for “always being there” for our New Citizens Ceremonies each month for ten years plus.  Dressing as Uncle Sam, Don posed with thousands of New Americans as they proudly held their Certificate of American Citizenship.

People would come from all parts of the county, meeting early in the morning at the San Diego Community Concourse to set up the tent, tables, and chairs and chat.  We would always look forward to sharing happiness, jokes, and coffee with Uncle Sam as we readied ourselves for the masses that were standing in line for blocks down the street to get into the ceremony.

Inside Golden Hall, about 1200-1400 excited New Citizens would take their oath and soon exit the double doors and we would be ready to greet them.  The crowd holding balloons and flowers would double as they meet with their families on the Community Concourse to celebrate. The RPSDC Voter Registration Team was there to greet them and register them to vote as Republicans.   “Mr. Nice Guy” as he called himself, loved being a part of the welcoming committee and asked all the New Americans to step over and get registered to vote, as Republican. Word got around and many flocked to our Republican tent just looking for a picture with the famous, Uncle Sam.

Should the New Citizen Ceremonies ever return to normalcy, the Voter Registration Team will be back to welcome the New Citizens wherever they may gather.  We will continue to talk with them about how freedom in American is with the Republican Party, as would our true patriot, Don Erwin.  

An image of Don as Uncle Sam will always remain deep in our hearts at our gatherings as we continue to pursue his mission to fight for the love of our country. 

A message from Don’s daughter, Lori 

“It is with deep sadness and heavy heart that as of 2:45 p.m. today my Daddy went to be with the Lord and reunite with his love, my Mommy. Dad passed peacefully here at home in a hospital bed. He had been under hospice care for 13 months since my brother Brian passed just three days shy of his 55th birthday last April. After losing his wife just 15 months earlier, this was beyond difficult for him. No parent should outlive their child. Between my brother’s passing and COVID shutdowns, anyone who knows my dad knows “he was put on this Earth to make people laugh!”
Due to Dad’s lung disease (interstitial fibrosis), COPD, and congestive heart failure, along with being confined at home, was extremely taxing on him, being the people person that he was. The day after Christmas he got covid pneumonia that nearly took him out however he was a fighter, stubborn, and just ornery enough to pull through. Down 24 lb, loss of muscle, and most of his strength, he was a true Miracle to have made it through all of that. Sadly his lungs and the congestive heart failure failed him. There is so much I could say about my dad, aka Ole’, Uncle Sam, Mr. Nice Guy, and Princess Papuli but I’ll let “The Don’s” speak for themselves! Here are all of his personas and a picture of my beautiful mama performing in the Follies. I will keep everyone updated with info about his service and celebration of life. Thank you to all of you who have reached out and for all of you who have been a friend to both my parents over all these years. They loved people, loved our country, and loved being with their friends.” — with Lori Erwin Ferrigno.