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Eric Horsboll

Eric Horsboll, 77, of New Paltz passed away on January 12, 2021. He was born August 2, 1943, to Egon and Valborg (Nielsen) Horsboll who emigrated from Vejle, Denmark and settled in Whitestone, NY, where Eric was raised. He came to New Paltz to attend college in 1961, following his brother Ernst (and sister-in-law Catherine Burlingame) who graduated in 1960. His parents retired to New Paltz later in life and were members of the United Methodist Church.

Eric was an alumnus of the Class of 1965 with a major in Secondary Education (history & political science) and took graduate courses in International Relations. Students who had him as a student teacher have written fondly about his impact on them. Eric then taught Social Studies in the Bronx and Marlboro, NY.  Leaving his teaching career, he devoted his life to two passions: music promotion and chess. He successfully brought the 9th World Open Chess Tournament to SUNY New Paltz in 1981, assembling 702 players from around the world. Eric was a USCF rated ‘Expert’ chess player himself; won the Dutchess County Chess Championship in 1991, 1994 and 1999; and served as a mentor to many local chess players for decades. One of his biggest thrills was hosting World Champion Anatoly Karpov, bringing him to “The Homestead” to play local chess enthusiasts. Quoting a friend, “When the history of New Paltz is written, an entire chapter can be devoted to the uniqueness of 10 New Paltzers of the 60’s, of whom Eric was one.” He was known for his warm personality and long-time friendships. Eric always loved a good debate, even if you were both on the same side of an argument.

Eric is survived by his brother Paul Horsboll (Lorette) of Chesapeake, VA, sister Sandra Santafede of The Villages, FL, sister-in-law Catherine Newton of  Saugerties, ex-wife Robin Cohen-La Valle of New Paltz, and ex-wife Elizabeth Fasolino—as well as five nephews, three nieces, several great nieces and nephews, cousins in Denmark, and many great friends. He was predeceased in 1963 by his brother Ernst, and later by his parents.

A memorial gathering celebrating his life will be scheduled in the summer or fall. Donations made in his memory will celebrate the following: The Vassar Chadwick Chess Club through scholarships for young chess players, a memorial bench in front of P&Gs Restaurant, and memorial recognition on the SUNY New Paltz campus. Donations and reflections can be made at ‘Eric Horsboll Memorial Fund’ here, or if preferred, checks and short recollections can be sent to Eric Horsboll Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 1194, New Paltz, NY 12561.

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