Congregants at St. Stephen First Martyr Catholic Church in Hinesville knew him only as Chris Konig. So when they heard news reports that a 33-year-old man named Erik Konig had been critically injured in a vehicular accident when riding his bike, they didn’t want to believe it was the young man they’d recently welcomed to the fold.
Erik Chris Konig, who had sustained severe head injuries, succumbed to his injuries mid-morning Tuesday, Jan. 8. Following the accident on Highway 84, he had been airlifted to Memorial Hospital in Savannah the evening of Dec. 25. The accident is still under investigation, according to the Hinesville Police Department.
Erik’s mother, Andrea Konig, said she didn’t want to leave her son’s side. The doctors emphasized that Erik had endured a traumatic brain injury. She held his hand and prayed that his soul be remitted to Jesus, when her son took his last breath.
“I’ve lost a son and a husband this way,” Andrea Konig said. Erik Konig’s father was killed in a traffic accident on Valentine’s Day 1988, when Erik was 2 and a half-years old, she said.
The day of Erik’s accident, Andrea Konig got a call from Memorial asking her permission to install a valve in Erik’s skull to relieve pressure on his brain. She gave her assent. Konig, who lives in Colorado, was at her daughter’s home in Independence, Mo., when the call came. Konig and daughter Nichole Minx left by car before noon on Dec. 26, 2018, to make the drive to Savannah, Ga. They drove all day and through the night, arriving at the hospital at 6 a.m. Dec. 27, 2018.
“He was seeking a new purpose in his life,” Konig said of Erik. She said he struggled to find his way in Colorado, but was getting his life back on track in Georgia.
Erik had previously been the owner of a successful moving business, Konig said. She commented that her son had been stressed, and said he wanted to simply his life.
“When he came to Georgia his purpose was renewed,” Minx said of her brother.
In October, Konig had brought her son to stay with her daughter and son-in-law, Brianna and Jason Burgess, of Fort Stewart. Erik left his sister’s home, and through the guidance and support of the Kirk Healing Center and St. Stephen's, Erik quickly had a place to stay and had found a spiritual home in the church.
“He was happiest with nothing,” Konig said of Erik. “It gave him joy to give…to give away.”
Konig said her son’s grandmother, Karin Ring, advised Erik to seek assistance at the Catholic Church in town. He did, and was referred to the Kirk Healing Center for the Homeless by St. Stephens Deacon Doug Delzeith. Konig and Minx have been staying with Doug and Renee Delzeith throughout their family’s sad ordeal.
Erik Konig was embraced by St. Stephens, Renee Delzeith said. The young man they knew as Chris signed up for religious instruction, helped out at the church, and even portrayed one of the wise men in this past Christmas holiday’s pageant.
Dr. Alicia Kirk, director and founder of the center, said Erik Konig was training to be a house supervisor for the center, to help others who were homeless. He had also secured a job as a cook at a local restaurant, but was employed only a day or two prior to the accident, Andrea Konig said.
Erik’s mother discovered notebooks filled with her son’s writing in a backpack he always carried.
“He was an avid reader,” Andrea Konig said. “He told me he wanted to write.”
The family plans to have a celebration of life service at St. Stephens at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 12. Renee Delzeith said Erik Konig made an impression on many of the congregants in the short time they knew him. As of press time, the family was still discussing funeral arrangements.
A memorial fund for Erik Chris Konig has been set up through GoFundMe: Erik (Chris) Konig Memorial. Donations to the fund will assist the family with funeral arrangements, and 20 percent will be donated to the Kirk Healing Center and St Stephen's Church for their support of Erik and his family.
Erik Chris Konig is survived by his mother, Andrea Konig, grandmother, Karin Ring, sister, Nichole Minx and her family, sister and brother-in-law, Brianna and Jason Burgess, and a younger brother, Ryan Marck.