BETHEL, New York (WABC) -- Bobbi and Nick Ercoline had no idea a photographer had captured them in a tender embrace, shrouded in a quilt at the iconic Woodstock Music Festival in August 1969.
But when the picture ended up on the cover of the official Woodstock record album, the young couple became symbols not only of those "three days of peace and music," as the festival's poster declared, but of a generation.
Bobbi Ercoline died on March 18 at her home in Pine Bush, New York. She was 73. Her death was announced by her husband of 54 years, Nick Ercoline. They were dating at the time the photo was taken.
"She lived her life well and left this world in a much better place. If you knew her, you loved her," Nick Ercoline wrote.
In 2019, amid the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival, Nick and Bobbi Ercoline shared their remarkable love story with Eyewitness News.
The young duo said they went to the legendary Woodstock festival on a whim, hardly realizing a memorable image of them would soon change their lives forever.
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"We didn't know that the photo was taken," said Nick. "But that's a pose you can see Bobbi and I perform every morning... and every night before we go to bed."
The photo, taken by photographer Burk Uzzle, is on the cover of "Woodstock: Music from the Original Soundtrack and More." Bobbi gifted her grandson an autographed record album with their photo on the cover one year for Christmas.
In the summer of 1969, Nick was a college student and Bobbi worked at a bank. The original $18 concert tickets were a little steep for their budget, so originally they didn't plan on attending the festival.
On Aug.15, 1969, Nick and Bobbi sat on her porch listening to local radio station WALL and heard all of the commotion -- the traffic, the people, the ruckus. Reporters and radio announcers were saying, "Please don't come. We cannot accept any more people." But Bobbi and Nick went anyway...
"We were 20... we had to go," said Bobbi.
The next morning, they grabbed some friends and some essentials and jumped into their friend Jim "Corky" Corcoran's mother's car and started driving.
"We got as far as we could and then there was a trooper, a state police car blocking the road - so we couldn't get by that," said Nick. "And a young man was sitting on the hood of the trooper's car. He was wearing blue jeans, no shirt, and moccasins - and he was smoking a joint. And we're looking at each other like 'What the heck is going on here?'"
They didn't make it far before a line of cars was dead-stopped. For miles and miles, they saw people, cars, and campsites. So the pair decided to get out on foot and followed the clear footpath to the festival.
"We really had no idea what to expect. Our intention was to come up, check it out, and be back home so I could go to Mass the next day," said Bobbi.
On their way in, they connected with a young man named Herbie, who was dealing with a bad trip and had lost his friends. They threw their arms around Herbie and headed into the festival.
Herbie was carrying a staff with a ribbon around it and a butterfly connected to it. The staff later made the iconic photo as well on the left side.
Bobbi, Nick, Corky, Herbie, and the others claimed a patch of ground at the festival in the sea of other attendees. Illuminated by the orange lights, swaying to the music, wrapped around a blanket that they found along the way.
Sometime on Sunday morning -- the last day of the festival -- Nick and Bobbi stood and greeted the sunrise wrapped in the quilt. They didn't know they were being photographed by Uzzle.
"When I was supposed to be attending Mass, the picture was taken. Proof that I did not go to Mass!" said Bobbi.
Along with Nick and Bobbi, and Herbie's butterfly staff, the picture captured their dear friend Corky. Ironically, Corky had just returned from serving 13 months in Vietnam with the Marines. Corky is behind the couple, on the ground laying under Herbie's Army blanket.
Bobbi and Nick remained grateful they shared this experience on that historic day in American culture and lived in its afterglow for the rest of their years together.
Nick and Bobbi married on August 1971 and had two children, Mathew and Luke. They also survive her, along with a brother, John; a sister, Cindy Corcoran; and four grandchildren.
Nick went on to become a union carpenter, and Bobbi a school nurse, but they would always be the couple from the Woodstock album.
"The further I get away from the event... the more I realize what a phenomenal thing it was. All those people under less than perfect circumstances and it was filled with peace and love... and no violence," said Bobbi. "This world needs more Woodstock."