- 36 years old
- Date of birth: Dec 19, 1977
- Date of passing: May 29, 2014
|The memory of Erika will be with us forever|
This memorial website was created to honor and remember our beloved daughter, wife, sister and friend, Erika Wells Huff. Erika was born on December 19, 1977 and passed away on May 29, 2014. She will remain in our hearts forever.
If you wish to consider a contribution in Erika's memory please consider either the Turner Syndrome Foundation @ http://www.turnersyndromefoundation.org/ or the Lost Our Home Pet Foundation @http://www.lostourhome.org/. Turner Syndrome is a condition that Erika lived with her entire life and which may have contributed to her untimely passing. Lost Our Home is an organization dedicated to caring for homeless pets which Erika loved very much.
"Think of you all the time
and know you are loved wherever you are xoxo aunty Susan"
"Happy Birthday, dear Erika! Thinking of you on this beautiful day. And remembering your pure joie de vie ....
Love you forever
"Erika, you would be happy that the sun shines bright today, the day of your birth. You loved your birthday celebrations to be on a sunny day. YOU brought sunshine to so many people. I miss you, my "bright side of life" daughter, beyond words. You are my shining star. Love, Mom"
"Happy Birthday, Dear Erika. We miss sharing this special day with you in person, but we treasure the day because it reminds us of the many special times we will share forever. We love you and miss you and always will."
"When the email stated that it has been two years since Erika's passing, I did not have the courage read the beautiful tributes. The pain of the loss of a child is something a parent should never have to endure. Chris and Ken please know that your love for Erika is a inspiration and gift. Thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts of her. Erika was an incredible woman."
"I read these tributes and shed many tears, especially today. They are of course, as your mom, tremendously sad. I miss you every day so much but remembering this day two years ago is to remember the worst pain that I can ever imagine.
But also I shed tears after reading the tributes because I am so proud of you. I am grateful that all who knew you recognized what a special gift you were for your short life. You made others feel good. Your kindness was widely felt. Your strength and determination and positivity were amazing.
The most fortunate for me when I count blessings is our very close relationship. We shared so much and had so much fun . I will always be thankful for the respect we had and showed each other. So I miss you beyond words. Always will. But someday I will see you once more.
Meanwhile, I am trying to look on the "bright side". ❤️❤️"
"Erika,you have made an incredible mark on so many people with your joy, kindness and amazing strength. I want you to know that Cory and I are sending a prayer your way and we want you to know that you are in our hearts...forever.
We love you.
Jenny and Cory"
"Sweet Erika, We remember all the kindness and love you brought each day in so many ways. Your smile and your sense of humor are just as bright today as ever in our memories. While we miss sharing fun times with you we have these bright memories to light our way. Please know you are always with us. Your Mom and I miss you greatly. We love you and always will."
"Erika, You led your life with goodness and kindness at your core and we are reminded of this goodness daily. Whether it be seeing a stray kitty dart across a street or seeing the gentle smile of a child, warm thoughts of you are triggered at a moment's notice. We are grateful for this and for you and your example. You are loved and you are missed by all of the Wades. Thank you for touching our lives. We honor you."
"Erika, I know how special Mother's Day was to you and your Mom and how you would love to be together today. Know that we miss you terribly, but that you are always with us. Also know that your Mom is greatly loved by your step-sisters, step-brother and me."
As time has passed my the deep pain I have for the missing piece has never faded. Time has moved forwarded yet many times I still find myself standing in my mind next to you wanting that one more chance to reflect on the power marriage we had. My love you showed me a women who was more than a wife but a role model. A person to look up to and one to find strength from. You gave so much and still to this day serve as a role model for me. I had some of the greatest days with you and it is this day I miss you the most. We had many great dinners and times on this special day. My love you will always be my lovely red rose. For time cannot diminish the care you gave to so many. To my love, wife wife, my eternal red rose Happy Valentines. I love you always,
The months have passed and time has moved forward. Yet with the days long gone my heart still breaks over having to have said goodbye to the one women who brought so much love and happy memories. For this day I will always cherish. Birthdays were always so special. You made my life complete and still to this day I struggle to put the pieces together. Though you have and always will be that beckon of hope, peace, and calmer days ahead. Even when times were tough you showed love, strength, character, but above all else a deep devotion in making our days better. I miss you beyond any words I can express, yet I know you would want us to lift our eyes to the power of what life can bring. You gave so much and never asked for anything in return. My angel, soul mate, and love of my life. May this day always reflect the beauty you gave all of us. Happy Birthday to the my love, my angel, my beloved wife. In love Ryan"
"It has been rainy and cloudy but this morning the sun is shining bright. You never did like rainy birthdays. You were such a sunny person. And you loved having birthday celebrations. I celebrate you today and everyday and my heart remains so heavy with how much I miss you. I loved being your mom and the special relationship we had. You were the BEST. Happy birthday, E."
"Happy Birthday ERIKA, today is a very special day for all of us whose lives you touched. We are thinking of all the special times we had and all the happy memories we shared. We miss you and love you very much!"
"Erika's light was so bright - the first time I met her she glowed- at such a young age. I recall the amazing love (bond) shared by she and her mom . the two of them were truly unique. Unconditional love. I know her light continues to shine daily - in a friendly smile, warm sunshine on your cheek, beautiful colors all around in a flower or sunset. May we daily be reminded of Erika when we notice the beauty around us!"
"Sweet Erika, How we miss you, but please know that the magic you brought to life remains with us. The mention of your name brings joy to all who knew you. The sight of your picture brings smiles and happy recollections to us. Yes, it has been a year since you left the physical realm, but your spirit will never leave us. Yes, we miss you terribly, but we will always have you with us in our thoughts and happy memories. We love you!! Ken"
"Thinking back to this day one year ago brings back that sorrowful pain of losing hope and saying goodbye to the light of my life. This last year has been a road I have and will struggle with forever but I have brought some changes within. I am seeing that I can more balance my sorrow and tears with smiles and gratitude. Much reflection and fortitude bring me to focus on the beautiful years I did have with you, the amazing closeness we shared, our bright and fun times together, and how you shared yourself with so many. You inspired me with the challenges you plowed through. I am so proud of you always, my beautiful daughter.
I have felt your presence through nature and through many other ways. I know you are near. My heart carries you always."
"Erika, it feels impossible that it has been a year since you passed. Our memories of you have not faded, nor will they ever. Your goodness lives on as a gift to us and we are forever grateful. You are and will always be forever missed. Love, The Wades"
"Will think of you tomorrow and remember your smiling face and infectious laughter. I know you continue to do good things. Xoxo Aunty Susan"
"Dear Erika, I know how much you wish you could be here with your Mom today. Know that you are very much here, not just today but everyday. Not a day passes that you are not in our thoughts. I know how much your Mom misses you and she is not alone. All of us miss you very much. Love, Ken"
"It is Mothers Day tomorrow and I am missing Erika more than ever. Being Erika's mom brought much happiness and pride. It was my favorite role at all times. We truly had an amazing relationship and closeness for which I am so grateful. Even though it's been almost a year since I lost her, I feel that she is near me and always deeply in my heart. Love for my daughter is a pure love. Always."
"To Angel I love and miss deeply. You were my center piece and the greatest gift I could have ever asked for. You were a kind, loving, compassionate women whom blessed my life each and every day. May this day always reflect the love you had in life and the lives you touched. To my bride now and forever I love you and long for the day to see you again. For there will never be another rose to ever bloom as beautiful as you. With all my love Ryan K Huff."
We will always remember the special young lady and happy precious child you were. Your happiness and joy at all those birthday parties are some of our fondest memories. Happy birthday dear angel! You are
In Our hearts forever.
Much love, Chris & El"
"Happy birthday, dear Erika. We will always remember the day you were born and how much joy you brought to all who knew you. I have such fond memories of the many, many birthdays we spent together. I remember your 4th birthday when Buddha was Santa. Scott and Korrie were there, and Megan was just a baby. I remember the year you and Megan dressed alike in your black tops, and your mom and I were so surprised. I love the memory of you at Ponchos in that silly sombrero that they put on your head when they sang happy birthday. All of our celebrations were special and will be remembered every year on your special day. Continue to watch over all who love you. You will always be in our thoughts.
Judy and Tom"
"My thoughts are with you Chris and Ken. May the wonderful memories of your precious daughter carry you through this day."
"Happy Birthday Erika. Thinking of you today and remembering what a blessing you were to all who loved and knew you. Sending love and hugs to your family who are missing you so much."
"We are thinking of you, Erika, and your family today with fond memories of the special little girl, young lady and woman you became.
You left a beautiful legacy with your love, kindness, unselfishness and
artistic side. I have been wearing the beautiful Christmas earrings
you made me all season and I think of you everyday. You are so missed, but never forgotten."
"A day of remembrance today on her birthday for our dear Erika. Her life was cut short but her accomplishments were many. To be recalled as a loving daughter, wife and friend is the finest legacy a woman can leave. Erika was all these things and so much more. She is greatly missed but will be thought of today with much love.
Catie & Chuck"
"Thinking of you today, Erika, and sending a big hug to you and your beautiful mom!"
"Oh beautiful Erika your light shines brightly from above . Keep your wisdom and love in our hearts. Happy bday and Give Kobe erne a hug for us. Xoxo susan and Michael"
"Happy Birthday, our dear Erika!! On this special day all of us who loved you so much are thinking of you and remembering all the joy being with you brought us. We know you are in a better place but we miss you still and always will."
"As holidays approach I have great anxiety and sorrow because our holidays were always so special together and you will be sorely missed. Your sense of humor and eagerness to participate were always appreciated by all. As we gather for Thanksgiving I will give thanks for you and the beautiful life you shared with me for those 36 years. And I am grateful for the family I have who has been so compassionate and caring and who miss you too. And the many friends who stay in contact and have given such comforting and loving support. And as you did, I will focus on the positive. I will honor you each day. Love you always, Mom"
"It has been nearly two months since my beloved wife has passed. A day does not go by that I do not think about the impact she had on my life. She made me a better and caring person. Her devotion to making our marriage better cannot never be expressed enough to the deep love that she gave. She was a shinning light, even in her passing she still lights the darkest days. I miss her beyond words I can express. She was the stability during the worst days and bright sunshine on the darkest nights. To my dear wife, I miss you for your love will always be with us. To the love of my life, to my dearest angel, you will always be with us for you are the Rose that will never stop blooming. Love Ryan"
"One story I'd like to share about Erika is about one of our family traditions -- a Secret Santa gift exchange every Christmas. The first year we did this, I think it was 2000 or 2001, I was lucky enough to get Erika. At the time, the spending limit was $30. Well, during my shopping adventure I came across what I thought was the perfect gift... an original Chia Pet, which just happened to be on sale for $29.99. What luck! With her sense of humor, I was absolutely sure she'd love it, and c'mon who hasn't always wanted one of those after seeing that classic commercial a thousand times back when we only had three TV channels?
Fast forward a week or so until Christmas day and the gift exchange where I was eagerly anticipating Erika's reaction, and seeing the sheer joy on her face. She opened the gift...and stared at it for a few seconds (I figured that she must've been letting the joy "sink in")...but then she looked at me with a curious look on her face and asked, "what is it?". After explaining everything I knew about Chia Pets to her, it was starting to look like my "perfect gift" fell flat.
I was wrong though, because from that Christmas onward, the Chia Pet became "the gift that keeps on giving". Every year, Erika and I have shared a laugh (or a few) about Chia Pets during the gift exchange. And for the past two years, a Chia Obama has even made an appearance at the white elephant gift exchange we started as another family tradition. Because of that, I'm sure that she came to love that Chia Pet as much as I knew she would.
I miss you Erika."
"Dear Chris, I only have gotten to know Erika through these wonderful pictures and stories. You had a wonderful, fun loving daughter that brightened your days as well as many. Thank you for sharing her with us. your friends at St. Joeseph Hosptial in Phoenix."
"As I read the tributes for Erika, I think of you Chris. What an inspiration you are. Erika's loving spirit was her own, but she gathered her strength and dignity from you. My deepest sympathy for the loss of your beautiful daughter."
"Chris, Thank you for coming by today....i just want you to know how much that meant to me.... I wanted to share my most memorable moment today with you of Erika...but thought it wasn't the right time .today.....when I was doing her and her girls for her wedding....the suite had 2 rooms and I was in 1 and the girls were in the other... they all were having so much fun! Drinking champagne, talking about their history together, filling me in, giggling as girls do, I got Erika's hair done..and before she put her dress on...a song came on...I can't tell you what it was, I wish I knew now...but she danced alone in that other room all by herself ...like the song said..."dance like no one is watching" and that was her! I remember thinking to myself " I want to be that happy on my wedding day"! So so sweet to see that beautiful girl that happy on her wedding day...Ryan...I want you to know...she was So happy! Please know that you made her very very happy! That is amazing... and Chris...she couldn't have a better mom...I love you so much! And Ken too of course....see you both soon. Hugs to all"
"For those of you who attended Erika's beautiful Memorial I want to thank you for sharing your love and caring for Erika . She was a beautiful person and will be missed so deeply. All of the tributes were so fitting and loving for her. Sarah further honored her tremendously with her kind words and observations. I hope all of you felt comforted in your own personal ways. I know Ken and I felt some of our stress melt away and we were so taken by the outpouring of love and support in that room. It takes extra strength to face a very sad and difficult event but we all conquered that and honored this amazing person who inspired us in that very area...conquering challenges and moving on. We will all move on feeling this comfort but also will keep Erika in our hearts and use her inspiration. She was the best daughter I could have imagined and I will honor her for all my days."
""It is very touching and emotional to hear the beautiful things said about Erika. What an accomplished, sweet and wonderful young lady. Rick and I send our love & prayers to the family at this difficult time."
"I looked up to Erika growing up. She was my kind, patient, and fun older cousin. And I still look up to Erika. Her grace and compassion have impacted many and will stay with me forever. I'm profoundly sorry that we lost her so soon."
"What a pleasure is has been to work with Erika over the years. Her presence in Early Intervention programs as a caring, thoughtful, dedicated Developmental Specialist meant so much to her colleagues and the many children and families she served. The EI community grieves with her family at her passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Erika had so many talents and interests. I will continue to enjoy her beautiful jewelry and think of her fondly. Kristin Rodgers Chase"
"Dear Ryan, Chris and Gerry,
I am Elizabeth (Liz Sullivan) Lem, neighbor to Mr. Wells, grandfather to Erika, who lived on Daroca in San Gabriel. I moved to San Gabriel in 1977 where I had the pleasure of meeting all the Wells family, including Erika when she was a baby through a few more years.
I was profoundly saddened to learn of Erika’s passing. I so remember her on trips to visit her grandfather and also remember that you, Chris and Gerry, shared that she was born with certain challenges. Well, obviously, these challenges did not deter her from living a very full and very meaningful life, albeit, too short. She certainly blossomed into a beautiful, intelligent and accomplished woman that did so much not only for herself, but for others, too; a real blessing in the lives of so many — this is her legacy as she will continue to live in the hearts of all those that knew and loved her!
Please accept my heartfelt condolences. I have made a contribution to "Lost Our Home Pet Foundation," in her memory.
"We will always remember Erika and the amazing things she accomplished in her short but very remarkable life.
We will see her spirit in the brightest star in the sky each night.
It will shine down on us as her smile did on everyone she touched."
"Like so many others, we never met or got to know this remarkable young woman, Erika. What an inspiration she has been to so many - so loving and giving of herself. She was blessed to have met and married Ryan and to have a wonderful mother and step family. Our hearts ache for this wonderful family she has left behind, but know that wherever she is, God is beside her and taking care of her. Chris, may this special memorial you have made in Erika's honor bring you comfort and peace. Her candle will shine brightly forever. We love you."
"Erika came into my life nearly seven years ago as my infant son Corey's developmental special instructor. Little did I know we would become such close friends. Unlike many here who have known Erika for all or most of her life, I only had a few short years to spend with her. But in that time, she has left such an indelible impression on my life and that of my family that she will always be with us.
Yesterday Corey celebrated his eighth birthday. He is the person he is today due in large part to Erika's dedication, encouragement, and advice over the years. Erika had a hand in helping to raise Corey, and she loved him dearly. I know that she continues to watch over him from afar.
The sudden loss of Erika will serve as a constant reminder to me of just how fragile life is. On my last visit with her, we were busy discussing plans to promote her beading and things we wanted to do together. A part of me will always think about what could have and should have been. More importantly, I will forever honor her memory in my everyday life that she became such a big part of, and my family will carry her in our hearts wherever our travels take us."
"My heart breaks for my dear friend over the loss of her girl, Erika.
And for the loss all of Erika's family feels right now. We are so saddened to have never had the chance to meet, know & love this shining star of a person! Her spirit literally 'shines' through in all these photos & the loving tributes left behind by those who loved her. What an amazing memorial you have created in honor of your beloved daughter. Sadly, we are unable to write a similar memorial about Erika. So we can only say... Chris & Ken, our dear friends, we are so sorry for your family's great loss... please know we love you and support you during this time."
"This tribute was added by Erika' uncle Doug
My niece was a sweet, loving, humorous, compassionate person,
with a can-do spirit from childhood to adult. Anyone who knew her
will miss and remember her."
"As a tribute I thought I'd share the words and feelings that I expressed to Erika's mother, my amazing step mother.
"Erika was such a beloved, welcome edition to our family, I will miss her dearly.
As I've had time to reflect on all that she had to endure throughout her life, and how she overcame all of her health issues, growing up to become such a giving, caring, and talented young woman, I've realized what an inspiration her life has truly been. This inspiration does not just extend to me, but to everyone she was able to touch. I only wish that I had half the courage and fortitude that she had, and I will look to the life she lived, and the struggles she overcame, for inspiration and encouragement. I will miss spending the holidays with Erika, and most importantly I will miss her positive outlook on life. Wherever it is that Erika's spirit and soul has moved onto, I'm sure they continue to spead her cheer and inspiration. Again, we will all miss her dearly."
Kenny, Janine, and Harrison Hyatt"
"I feel I knew Erika through Chris and the endearing way she always spoke of her and what a special young women she was. Sending my deepest sympathies to Chris, Ryan, Ken and family for their loss. You have truly made a beautiful memorial in honor of Erika and I was touched by her sweet face and the story you told of her short but special life. Thank you for sharing it with us all."
"We feel so sad that this accomplished young lady has died at such a young age. We always enjoyed being in her company with her sweet smile and welcoming personality. I know she will be missed by everyone that knew her. Ken, Chris and Ryan you are in our thoughts."
"My first memories of Erika were in her mom Chris' classroom at Hermosa View School. I will remember her as a smiling, cheerful, creative and exceptionally bright young lady. She was the type of child who left a lasting impression for all of the right reasons. My thoughts and prayers are with her family, husband and friends. xoxo"
"I am still in shock that Erika is no longer with us. I had the opportunity to meet Erika through the Chi Omega Alumnae group in Phoenix a few years ago. She was very welcoming and went out of her way to be so friendly to me. She had such a kind heart and I admired her for her desire to help cats and make beautiful jewelry. She had a heart of gold and I will miss her so much. We love you Erika - I hope you are surrounded by kitties in Heaven."
"INITIAL RANDOM MEMORIES BY ERIKA’S FATHER:
Early Age -> Activities with the UCLA Intervention Program’s “Father’s Group”.
Los Angeles Kings -> Erika and I went to King’s games when it was possible to buy walk-up tickets at the box office. The only four-year-old in the entire arena.
Wingrock Elementary School -> Very proud to see her bounce up on stage and recite a poem.
Camping Trip -> I gave Erika a bar of soap and a Swiss Army knife to practice her whittling skills while I prepared dinner. Bad idea.
First Day Joni & Erika met-> We all went to the beach to watch a “Grunion Run”. No Grunion.
Bad Influence -> Joni taught Erika how to climb up on the kitchen counter.
Manhattan Beach Intermediate School -> Intellectual blossoming. Entered and finished a 2 mile school run.
1988, 2nd Story Apartment -> Dropped her precious “My Little Ponies” over the balcony into a bucket of water. We all “groomed” the horses later.
Lake Mohave -> Water-skiing trip with Joni, Erika and a school friend. Erika was a seriously dangerous competitor at Pictionary.
Dodgers -> She had the biggest crush on Oral Hershiser.
Mira Costa HS-> “’I don’t need no stinkin’ tutor’; I can do it myself”. And she did.
Columbo -> Eating dinner together while watching every episode – repeatedly.
Learning To Drive -> Hitting a sign in the TRW parking lot while learning how to drive a stick (wee bit of confusion as to clutch and brake). Then she learned how to change a tire.
College Application Essay -> She was accepted at every college she applied to - great SATs and exceptional writing skills.
Senior Year @ Mira Costa -> The challenge and reward of going from an F to a C in senior physics (intense dad tutoring).
Names -> Erika called me “Dadeo”; Joni & I called her “Junior Babe”. I always signed off from a phone call or email with, “I love you but my broccoli is getting cold”!
Contacting a college student during the 90s -> Phone calls at normal hours? Soon learned that e-mail was the way to go.
UC Davis -> She graduated in four years: major in Human Development and a minor in Spanish.
Cal Poly, SLO -> Move-in weekend. Multiple hardware store visits and numerous repairs. Watched “Columbo” (it never got old) with a PizzaHut Supreme.
Phoenix early years -> Erika gave a beautiful speech at a large Easter Seals Conference about working with disabled children.
Ryan-> He made our girl happy. Need I say more?
Wedding -> A most beautiful event. I think about it a lot. I was proud to walk her down the aisle; she was a beautiful bride. The “father of the bride” speech made me very nervous.
Last Visit, April 18, 2014 -> We had a wonderful day with Ryan and Erika. Erika decided that she preferred Italian prosciutto (over German and American) and Sockeye smoked salmon over Coho and that the white Trader Joe’s Lambrusco was as tasty as the red. Dinner was at Grunions. Erika and I both ordered our long-time favorite, the Philly cheese steak sandwich. We are grateful that our last day with Erika was a relaxed and happy day – a joyful day."
"Erika and I only knew one another for about a year and a half, but in that time ... she had the biggest impact on my life and the lives of my children, especially my daughter. Erika was one of the kindess, most generous people I have ever met. Her heart was enormous and she had so much love to give. She was funny, insightful and had the greatest taste in shoes! Whenever new shoes were bought, I couldn't wait for her to see them. Luckily, we wore the same size! LOL
Erika was my friend, we talked, laughed together, and at least once cried together. I will miss her!"
Was unaware of your daughter passing. These losses are always hard to imagine at such a young age... and I'm sure there have been some tough times for you and Chris. Nance and I know that you both are missing her and our thoughts are with both you and Chris.
Tom and Nancy Graves"
"I met Erika through her volunteerism at Lost Our Home Pet Foundation. Erika was always such a sweet, caring person. She and Ryan always gave their foster kitties so much love.
We consider Erika and Ryan a part of our rescue family. Our love and support goes out to Ryan and the rest of Erika's family."
"Ron and I had the pleasure of getting to know Erika when Ken and Chris moved in next door to us at Bear Creek. She was such a gentle soul that could teach us all about the challenges of life and how to overcome them with the sweetest of spirits. The world is definitely a better place because of her. Our love and prayers go out to Chris, Ken and your whole family!"
"Alas, we did not know you Erika but, after reading these wonderful tributes, we feel we do.... at least a little. Erika you must have been an incredible person to be loved so much. We certainly share your passion for animals. If we had a daughter, we would be blessed if she were just like you: creative, spunky, generous, compassionate, silly and kindhearted."
"I knew Erika from Lost Our Home Pet Foundation. She was a great volunteer and foster, giving love and care to many kitties, both in her own home and at our Petsmart location. She volunteered at events often and stepped in to help when others didn't. We could always count on Erika. Her love for the kitties was tremendous and they all loved her back.
My fondest memory of Erika is actually of a day when Erika and Ryan were volunteering together. We were getting ready to open our new shelter and Ryan and Erika came in to help with cleaning, organizing etc. It was so touching seeing how they interacted with other in such a loving way. Ryan helped Erika with things that were up high or might be heavy, Erika helped Ryan by taking over things he was doing. Both insisted that the other let them help, and they did it in such a loving a caring way. They put the other person first and I could have sworn that I could literally see the love, care and compassion between them. They were in their own world of love.
I was so touched and inspired by them that I have told this story to many people over the past 6 months since that day we had worked together. They had the type of of love that most people can only dream about.
Erika had so much love to give and receive still with Ryan, her family and friends, and all the kitties out there that deserve the type of love she gave. She will be tremendously missed by many volunteers, staff and kitties at Lost Our Home Pet Foundation.
Lost Our Home Pet Foundation"
"While I didn't know Erika personally, I knew her through the pride and joy she brought to Chris and those around her. She clearly made an impact on all she worked for and with and memories of her will be held by many. May her candle ever burn joyfully in honor of her time with us."
"Erika must have been a wonderful person and loving daughter, and wife to Ryan. I am sorry to never have met her, but have learned to know her through the many tributes to her. She will be so missed by so many."
"Such wonderful tributes to Erika. Chris and Ken we have been friends for over 15 years and although we didn’t know Erika that well personally, we know how special she was in your lives and to all of her family and friends. How nice to be remembered so fondly by so many."
"I want to extend my deepest sympathies to Erika's family. Erika was a student teacher with me in my Special Education Resource program at Ida Redbird Elementary School in Mesa AZ. She was a dear person and cared so much about others, which is evident by her career choices. She will certainly be missed, and we are all the better for having known her."
"We share in your sorrow. You spoke of Erika with so much love and caring. Although we have not met her, she must has been such a special young lady."
"It was with great sadness we learned that Chris. Ken, Ryan and their family lost dear Erika. On reading the tributes here we could see what a warm and caring young lady she was. Chris, there can be no sorrow greater than losing a child but know there is now a new bright star shining down on you."
"Gordy and I never had the pleasure of meeting Erika or Ryan. We know how loved she was from the way Chris "lit up" just talking about her.
Chris and Ken happily worked endlessly in preparing for Erika's and Ryan's wedding.
No one should outlive thier child so I just cannot imagine the pain for all of your family.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you."
"There is no way to truly express in words how much I miss the love of my life. Erika made me a better person, she challenged my fears, and encouraged me to always be the best. She was a role model, humble leader, and most of all my best friend. Her passion for life continues to grow. She touched many lives, there are those who never met her and can only speak of the incredible women she was and always will be."
"I am truly at a loss for words - my heart is breaking and my mind is at a loss for words. The first time I met Erika was in your First Grade classroom. She was helping you in class and it was one of the sweetest memories. I remember wanting to grow up to be just like you so I could have a daughter just like her! Your relationship with each other is a treasure I strive to have with my daughter. Since I am at a lack for words I will share a poem:
Don't think of Erika as gone
Her journey's just begun
Just think of her as resting
From the race that we must run
In the presence of Jesus where there are no days and years
There are no sorrows and there are no tears
I know she must be hoping
That we would know today
How nothing but our tears
Will ever pass away
God has brought home a special Angel watching us from above
Thought we may not understand
We accept God's plan in love
Erika will go on living
In the hearts of those she touched
Her life will be fulfilled through family and friends who love her so much"
"As I struggle to accept the reality of Erika's passing, I've been able to find great comfort in the beautiful tributes shared in her memory. It is now that I'm reminded of how important it is to "always look on the bright side of life"....definitely an attitude embodied by Erika.
I've always been in awe of Erika's determination and endless accomplishments. Her ability to take a negative and turn it into a positive regardless of circumstance. She was a doer and had so so much to be proud of... I know we are all very proud of her, proud to call her sister. I'm so grateful for the time we recently spent with Erika and Ryan this Spring. I forever have the memory of seeing Coop take her hand in his and stroll off like no one else existed. The look on both of their faces was priceless....a special moment that I will hold in my heart. Her light will shine bright in our lives always!!
We love you much and will miss you deeply."
"So very sorry to hear about Erika's passing. We were in MBCC plays together as children and were at Mira Costa together, and she was such a bright light and always smiling! I loved catching up with her as adults through Facebook and seeing what a lovely woman she grew into. I wish her husband, parents, and family peace and comfort during this difficult time. Reading these tributes it sounds like she really left a beautiful impact on our world.
Stephanie (Knowles) Valdes"
"Its truly sad to lose someone in your family but its even more difficult when they leave before their time. Erika was an incredibly strong person. I know she fought as hard as anyone could because that was one of her greatest strengths. When my mother, herself a fighter met Erika, she was instantly impressed and fond of her for these qualities. She faced so many challenges in her life and overcame them with grace, dignity and accomplishment. She was loved by all and will be missed dearly."
"From Erika's Uncle Bill: I am a proud owner of an abstract watercolor picture painted when Erika was 4 or 5 (?) and beautifully framed by Chris as a Christmas present. It still hangs on my wall after all these years. Erika will always live in our hearts."
"I remember the day that Erika was born! We were so excited to welcome her to the world, and now we are so sad to have to say good-bye to her prematurely.
Erika accomplished so much in such a short time. She got married, received degrees, and had a fulfilling job. She even lived in a different geography/state than her parents! She did all of this despite numerous surgeries and heartaches, especially as a younger child.
We have always admired Erika’s spunk and focus. She is and was amazing!
Love, Bob and Karen Kendall"
"We were blessed to have known Erika all 36 of her years. She was always determined, courageous and kind even in the most challenging times.We loved watching her grow into an outstanding young woman who gave so much to her loved ones, her community and her animal friends.
I recently bought several pairs of her lovely, creative earrings and I will
treasure them as they remind me of her beautiful spirit that will live on with all of us who knew and loved her. Our hearts go out to her loving
husband Ryan and her wonderful parents.
Love, Nancy and Bruce"
"What a strong spirit Erika had. She had a joy of life and oh, what fun it was to be with her. Growing up she was filled with such love for her family and friends and this never changed. Family gatherings and vacations would find Erika wholeheartedly and quite excitedly involved in whatever was going on…from rounding up everyone to try a new game, to playing a competitive round of team ping pong, to exploring a nature trail led by her Uncle Doug. During these visits Erika would always take time to talk with each person individually, from my own children who were a bit younger to her great great aunts. Erika connected so beautifully with everyone.
I can see that Erika was surrounded by incredible friends. At her shower and her wedding it was easy to see that these girls all loved Erika and she loved (not liked a lot) them back. At the same time I saw the amazing bond between Chris and Erika. Not soon thereafter at the wedding I saw this love with her husband.
I am so glad that my family has had this time with Erika. We have enjoyed both vacations and family events that will always be cherished. Erika will be deeply missed ."
"We had the privilege of knowing Erika since birth and watched her grow through the transitions of life. From her youth through adulthood every time we saw her she was lively, upbeat, and positive. She was kind, gentle and always thoughtful of others, and so often made us laugh with her spunk and good humor.
Erika, we shall miss you. Our fond memories of you will help us through this very sad time."
"I am so sorry I never had the opportunity to meet Erika...from all the comments and loving memories...I know she was a very special person! I know I would have liked her...especially because of her love for rescued kitties ..we would have been kindred spirits! I always enjoyed listening to Chris talk about her "special" girl..what a very proud and loving mom!!! My caring thoughts...to Chris, Ken and Ryan."
"Erika, you left us earlier than we expected. What a very profound reminder that we cannot control all things in life. However, you stand as an amazing example of how life should be lived to the fullest! I will miss your sense of humor and touching posts on cats. It takes a gentle, loving, patient soul to foster those little ones. I will always remember your kindness, joy, and dedication to family. In your memory, I will work hard at letting my family and friends know how important they are to me---just like you did so often and made me smile. This is how I will honor your memory. Love, Christy Tilley"
"I have known Chris & Ken for 10 years but have never met Erika in person. However, I know how much she was loved by Chris and her family, and from that I know she was an exceptional person. It is my loss to have not seen her smile in person. We are all grieving together at her loss."
"We sadly never met Erika but with stories shared from Chris and Ken, we know she was an exceptional daughter, wife, sister and aunt. With all the lives she has touched, her candle will burn brightly as we share stories of her short but accomplished life and the deepest love of her family."
"One can sense Erika's love for life and kind-hearted soul in every picture of her. We never had the good fortune of meeting Erika in person. But we felt that we knew her, vicariously, through sweet Chris (and of course, Ken). Every conversation about Erika was filled with smiles, warmth and laughter. Her life on this earth was way too short, but Erika lived her life to the fullest. She will be forever missed but never forgotten."
"We are touched by all the beautiful stories about Erika. She has that wonderful smile in all her pictures. We know how proud Chris is of her lovely daughter and her accomplishments. Our love and heartfelt thoughts are with Chris and Ken and their family. Whatever soothes your spirit, comforts your soul, and brings you peace that's what you are wished at this sad time."
"To me Erika was more than spunky, she was a battler. She battled health issues. She battled social conventions. She battled interpersonal challenges. She battled to achieve the education level she aspired to. She battled job barriers. And it wasn’t just that she took on these challenges, and refused to let them define her, she did it with such class, intellect and joy. Erika won all her life battles.
But there was one more battle at the end of her short, precious life that ultimately was more that even Erika could overcome. Yet her role model life has left behind such a high standard for all of us that I can honestly say she even won her last battle.
"Sassy, fantastic Erika who always pushed me to be better and more positive -- and better accessorized. She inspired my love of the Pythons, she helped me laugh my way through high school and beyond. I was privileged to call her friend for over twenty years, and I'm going to try to live up to her memory for the rest of my life. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go buy a pair of shoes..."
"Erika and I met when we were three years old and became the best of friends. In her short time here, she accomplished so much and inspired so many. She was an incredible person - smart, funny, kind hearted, and compassionate. I was so saddened to hear of her passing. I will always cherish my childhood memories with her and she will forever remain in my heart."
"I met Erica several times and do agree that she was a very special person. She was the apple of her mom's eye. Christine was such a special friend to me and I am grieving for her and her family. Erica will truly be missed by many. Thankfully, we have wonderful memories of her that will stay with us forever."
"We have known and loved Erika since the day she was born. How honored we were to be chosen as her godparents. We watched Erika grow up as a joyful little girl with her love of music and animals and of course her free spirit. Megan found in Erika a big sister as our families spent so many birthdays, holidays, and weekends together. As she matured, Erika grew into a lovely, talented, confident woman who faced her challenges with courage, continued to look for the good in others, loved and enriched the lives of her family and friends, found her prince charming in Ryan, and made a difference in so many lives. We will always miss you and continue to love you.
With love, Judy, Tom, Megan and Zack"
"We have great memories of Erika from the earliest
Years when all our kids attended the birthday parties.
Erika always had Abigail smile and a warm greeting.
She faced adversity from the outset and met every
challenge. Erika reached her full potential and a lot
of people can't say that. We will all treasure our
memories of this sweet young lady .
Fondly, Chris, Eleanor, Brian and Ashley Bowles"
"I met Erika at camp in Colorado when we were 14. Her warm, fun, kind personality and love of laughter, made it very easy to be friends with her. I am so sad to hear that she has passed, her spirit will not be forgotten, and I will always cherish the memories that I have with her. Love a prayers to all who are grieving and will miss her."
"I loved Erika with all my heart. I accept her passing because I have no choice. She met challenges in her life with determination and grace. I will remember her as the happy, creative, loving, successful young woman she was. She will be greatly missed!
You are forever in my heart,
"Erika and I met during our years at UC Davis and while she was always a hard worker, she also had plenty of time to enjoy the silliness of college life. I enjoyed our times together as roommates and friends and will forever miss her kindness, generosity, upbeat outlook, and quips about Monty Python. I'm sure she'd be the first to say: "Always look on the bright side of life!""
"Although we didn't know Erika, as we read the wonderful tributes to her we learn what an inspiring and special person she was. As friends of Chris and Ken we share the grief of those who loved Erika and we know her legacy will live forever in the hearts of many."
"Erika exemplified how best to live life. She worked hard and made the most of her talents to enrich the lives of others and to achieve happiness for herself. She faced challenges with a positive outlook, energy, and courage. I will always remember her smiling, enjoying the company of other people, and bringing joy to her family and friends."
"Erika was a spunky miss who always said yes and lived a remarkable full life in her 36 years. A mentor and inspiration among her family and friends. Xoxo"
"I like to picture Erika on her wedding day. She and Ryan were so clearly happy to have found each other. Erika smiled the entire evening and greeted everyone so graciously, a lovely lady.
I bought a necklace set from Erika recently. When I see it, I think of how she faced challenges with spunk. She was not afraid to try things.
I will also think of how she inspired those around her.
Marsha and Bill Paulsen"
"May Erika's kindness and generosity live within us forever. I am very grateful to have met Erika through the Phoenix Chi Omega Alumnae group over the past couple of years. She always brought a bright smile and cheeriness to every event and she was always a pleasure to be around. I will always remember her for her warmth and friendliness. Love in Chi Omega."
"We never had the opportunity to meet Erika so it is wonderful to see her photos and read the comments of her parents and others. So young, so beautiful.....too soon to leave us, but it is obvious to see the indelible mark she made on the lives of those who did know and love her. We only regret that we weren't so privileged. Our love to Chris and Ken and the rest of her family.
Jim and Patsy Purvis"
"I was blessed to have Erika come into my life nearly 19 years ago when I first met her Mom. She impressed me immediately with her enthusiasm and zest for life. I didn't know then that I would have the honor of becoming her step-dad, but I was indeed so honored. It was with great pride that I watched as Erika blossomed into the young woman she became. She met every challenge with a smile and had a special ability to just make you feel good when you were around her. I know her marriage to Ryan brought special happiness into her life and I also know that being Auntie Erika to her five step-nieces and nephews was very special to her. My three children loved Erika deeply and will miss her deeply, just like the rest of us. It is so sad to see this bright candle go out. I will miss her as if she had been my own daughter."
"While knowing Erika through the words of her mother, we were always impressed with Erika's accomplishments and her positive attitude and spirit. We cannot fathom the depths of pain of losing a child especially someone as special as Erika. Our hope and prayers are for Chris and the family that all of the wonderful memories will remain forever."
"Condensing my thoughts at this time about all the wonderful attributes I could ascribe to my remarkable daughter is truly difficult but still a great opportunity. I honored her all her 36 years. She was petite of stature but mighty in positivism, determination, compassion, and indomitable spirit. Erika was inspirational as she not only met challenges (even as a young child) but exceeded expectations, all the while wearing her pretty smile and bringing smiles to others with her wonderful sense of humor.
As her mother I have been and will be comforted by so many who also are thinking so many beautiful thoughts of this strong and impressive Erika, who was taken from us all far too soon."
"I was so saddened to hear about Erika's passing. She was such a kind, caring person.
Laura Clark Zuniga
Chi Omega - Omicron Kappa"
"Erika, you are missed more than you'll know. You are a beautiful example for us all. Your dedication to helping those less fortunate did not go unnoticed. You touched the lives of many families and countless children benefitted directly from your love, kindness and expertise. You didn't stop there, though. You took in and fostered unwanted kitties and loved them like your own. Many of them were given a new lease on life.
So many people talk the talk, but can't manage to walk the walk. You were able to do just that. You made the world a better place and we have been robbed of your kind soul. We will not forget your example and will honor it in our lives and instill it in the lives of our children. We love you and miss you.
Love, Dana, Kevin, Ryan, Mia and Teddy"
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