Renaud Cook Drury Mesaros, PA (RCDM) joins friends and family in mourning the loss of finance director and valued colleague Emmanuel “Erv” Valdez, who passed away March 7, 2020, after a long and valiant fight with cancer. He was 58.

Emmanuel, nicknamed Erv by his co-workers, started at the firm in April, 2013. Prior to joining the firm, he spent more than a decade as an accounting manager at Jaburg Wilk.

Beyond his professional contributions, Erv brought a significant personal presence to the firm with many of his co-workers fondly remembering their time with him.

How do you describe Erv? I think Audrey Sinclair summed it up best when she affectionately referred to him as, “the grumpiest sweetheart you’d ever meet.” Quirky, snarky, grumpy and sweet — that was Erv in a nutshell!

It is still difficult to grasp that we won’t see him in the office or walking along the halls calling out, “What’s up, Squirrel?” — squirrel a favorite nickname bestowed on his co-workers. There are so many memories, so many laughs shared with him throughout the years.

For many of us, it is the silly moments that stand out the most:

Erv’s love of maple long johns. It wasn’t unusual to see one or two set aside for him when donuts made their way into the office, or how he’d keep a bell pepper on his desk for lunch — yes, that’s right, a pepper! Sometimes orange, other times red, but never green.</&nbsp>

How he’d pop into the breakroom during the lunch-hour to grab a soda, and take the opportunity to survey everyone’s lunches while he was there.

His fondness for “liquid gold,” also known as nacho cheese

Discussions about the sheer genius behind the spork and how they are greatly underutilized and underappreciated in the world of plastic utensils; and how pretty much any food could be turned into a burrito!

An avid camper, Erv was always ready to share opinions on favorite camping spots and maintenance tips with his fellow campers in the office. Rhonda Barnett, an RCDM paralegal, recalls many conversations when they’d talk about their latest camping destinations — Lake Pleasant being a favorite for both of them — and how she’d seek him out if she had camping related questions. The stories he would share about his beloved beagles Brady and Cindy, so many that when he lost Brady, we felt the loss and mourned right along with him.

All of these memories, the silliness and the laughter – that is what we will carry with us forever. Erv was more than just a colleague: he was also a friend, gone but not forgotten. He will be truly missed.

Rest easy now, Squirrel; we’ll take it from here.

Laurie Bergantino, RCDM