Joshua David Stein, writing for Wired:
According to some linguists, the writing has been on the wall for years. “What you are seeing is a very natural process – the omission of the letter in final unstressed syllables before /r/, is something that has been a feature of written English since Anglo-Saxon times,” said Professor David Crystal, OBE, a linguist and author of Internet Linguistics. “‘Gather’ in Old English was spelled both ‘gaderian’ and ‘gadrian,’ for example.” In other words, the law of lex parsimonae doomed the E’s of Flicker, Tumbler, and Gather a long time ago.
Less an obit for the letter “e” than for the suffix “er”, but still an interesting observation.