Arthur Erhardt, 84, formerly of Danbury, died Sept. 20 from cancer, at his home on Goat Island in Newport, R.I.

He was born Jan. 12, 1929, and spent his life as a dedicated friend, father and mentor. He was raised in the Danbury area, where he went to school and worked.

He owned R. F. Erhardt & Sons, a family mechanical contracting business in Danbury, until 1983.

He subsequently moved to North Kingstown, R.I., before finally settling in Newport.

In 1989, he started a new mechanical contracting company, Island Mechanical Consultants, followed by a geotechnical consulting/distribution firm called Grid Technologies Inc., where he worked up until his death.

He was proud of his service in the U.S. Navy, and was stationed in Newport in the 1950s. He was a member of the VFW, Chambers of Commerce in Danbury and Newport, the Rotary Club, the Mechanical Contractors Association, the Soil Conservation Society, the Stadium Managers Association, the Golf Course Superintendent Association, Airport Manager's Association, and many other professional organizations.

He was a devoted patriot and veteran who was very involved in his community. He was an innovator in the mechanical contracting and geotechnical industries.

He was instrumental in starting a geotechnical engineering program at the University of Rhode Island.

Additionally, he donated his time and experience to the agronomy and turf farms at the University of Rhode Island. He spent countless hours educating the civil and geotechnical engineering community with regard to the benefits of using geosynthetics for shoreline protection, storm water runoff, and soil stabilization.

He was regarded as being 20 years ahead of his time with his knowledge and expertise.

He was a dedicated and extremely proud father and grandfather.

He is survived by two sons, Mark S. Erhardt, of Sherman, and Stuart C. Erhardt, of West Newbury, Mass.; five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He was formerly married to Ethel Mae Erhardt, of Danbury. He was predeceased by his father, Raymond F. Erhardt, and his mother, Ruth Bennett Erhardt; his sister, Viola Erhardt Richardson; his brothers, Raymond F. Erhardt Jr. and Louis Erhardt.

Memorials can be made to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 20 Dr. Marcus F. Wheatland Blvd., Newport RI 02840 or by visiting www.mlkccenter.org