October 16, 1947 - January 24, 2019
Kathleen M. Erickson
Beloved wife, mother, and grandmother, Kathy passed away on January 24, 2019 at age 71. Kathy was born October 16, 1947 in St. Paul, MN to Francis & Dorothy (nee Wachs) Starr. She was a 1965 graduate of Richfield High School. Survived by children, Jeff (Jenny) Smith & Mike Smith; grandchildren, Ian & Carter Smith; brother, Gary (Sharon) Starr; niece Dawn. Preceded in death by husband of 30 years, Curtis Erickson; parents, Francis & Dorothy (nee, Wachs) Starr; and infant brother, Charles Starr.
As a child Kathy was active in girl scouts and enjoyed figure skating. A lover of dance, she took ballet and tap lessons and performed on the Richfield High School dance team, the Tapaires.
Kathy loved her family and always put them first. She married Richard Smith at 19 and raised two boys, Jeff and Mike. Unfortunately their young marriage didn’t last, and for five years she struggled and sacrificed as a working single mother.
In Curt she found the love of her life. They married in 1977 and moved the family to Bloomington, to the house they would call home until their deaths. Kindred spirits with different personalities, together they enjoyed music, traveling, skiing, camping, summers at the lake, and especially motorcycle touring.
Kathy worked as a bookkeeper and payroll specialist at Bridgeman’s, CDP, and finally as a receptionist with Minnesota Vocational and Rehabilitation Services, a job she enjoyed until her retirement.
In 1991 she was diagnosed with skin cancer in her tongue and underwent surgery and radiation treatment. Kathy was able to live another 27 years cancer free, though eating and speaking would always be challenges.
In 2001 Curt was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer. He fought valiantly for several years but eventually succumbed. Kathy cared for him at their home during hospice care and was at his bedside when he died in 2006, only two weeks apart from her father Frank’s death.
Never one to complain, Kathy focused on the wonderful things she still had in her life: friends, family, and faith. She loved being a grandmother, doting on Ian and Carter, and joining them on trips to Orlando and the Superior North Shore, and attending their sporting events and concerts.
She loved her home and her garden, meticulously maintaining her collection of flowers, canna lilies, lilacs, and hostas, and continuing to invite and cook for friends and family, even when she had a feeding tube and could no longer eat herself.
She loved her faith. A longtime member of Richfield Lutheran Church, she later embraced a new community at Hope Church in Richfield, where she was active in Bible study, prayer group, and a frequent volunteer at donation center Vine and Branches.
Kathy remained independent until the very end, maintaining her house and living with beloved dog Abby through the final stages of cancer before starting hospice care at home. She died peacefully in the presence of her loving sons.
Special thanks to Fairview Hospice for their loving care.
Memorials to Vine and Branches, care of Hope Church, http://hope-pc.org/vine-branches/, and Fairview Hospice, https://www.givemn.org/organization/Range-Regional-Health-Services
Monday, February 4, 2019
Visitation 1 hour prior
Hope Presbyterian Church Chapel
7132 Portland Avenue
Richfield, MN 55423