Read the latest on the Maine shootings
To friends, Patti Deraps Eger and her husband, Robert C. Eger Jr., were friendly, God-fearing people. She had a passion for scrapbooking and feeding those who entered their home, and he was a Navy veteran and skilled builder.
The Egers were found dead in their Bowdoin home Tuesday alongside their friends, Cynthia R. Eaton, 63, and David Lee Eaton, 66, of Florida. Joseph M. Eaton of Bowdoin, who was their son, was charged with murder in the shooting deaths of the four people, Col. William Ross of the Maine State Police said at a Wednesday news conference.
Cynthia and David Eaton’s attempt to intervene
Eaton was apprehended on Tuesday after shooting three others along Interstate 295 in Yarmouth and is being held at Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset.
“Patti was the kind of person who always had a smile on her face and gave everyone a hug,” said Linda Walker of Bowdoin, who called herself Patti’s best friend of 20 years. “She opened her door to anyone and if you went to visit her, she wanted to feed you. She took care of us all and she was loved by everyone.”
Patti’s signature dish was taco stew. She was known for giving people Twizzlers, her favorite candy and called all her friends “sistah,” Walker said.
Walker met Patti through a local scrapbooking community of about 40 people and the two became fast friends. When their group would take an annual trip to Sunday River, Walker said they usually shared a bed and would “stay up laughing and telling silly stories half the night.”
Patti would make a scrapbook each year to raise money for the Lisbon Area Christian Outreach food pantry, where she served on the board of directors. But her scrapbooks were usually filled with photos of her family and friends.
“I think she has more pictures of me than my family does,” Walker said. “She was always taking everyone’s picture for a scrapbook.”
Patti, who was 62, and Bob, aged 72, met through a mutual friend when they both worked at Bath Iron Works, one of the state’s largest shipyards known for making Navy destroyers.
“Patti and Bob were the best people in the world,” Walker said. “They were very down to earth, honest, good, God-fearing people.”
Bob worked in the Bath shipyard after serving in the Navy but later left to start his own company that specialized in making homes out of insulated concrete forms, which is considered to be stronger and more energy efficient than other construction materials like wood.
James Schildroth, a Brunswick-based architect who worked with Bob on a large Freeport home, called him “a very good builder.”
Patti worked at BIW until she had the couple’s first and only child, a son in his 20s who now lives in Texas with his wife. The couple were also active in the West Bowdoin Baptist Church, Walker said.
When she wasn’t scrapbooking, volunteering or visiting with friends, Patti would bring food to her 95-year-old father, who worked as a lighthouse keeper around Maine when she and her five siblings were growing up, Walker said.
Phyllis Brannon of Durham, who served on the Lisbon Area Christian Outreach board of directors with Patti for four years, said Patti was “always looking to help people in any way she could” and could always be counted on to bake something for the food pantry’s bake sale fundraisers.
When Brannon first joined the food pantry’s board of directors, she said Patti “took me under her wing” and explained how things worked.
“She was always very friendly, likable and willing to help,” Brannon said. “We know where she is, but we’re praying for all the people she left behind.”