Celebration of Life: Erin K. Johnson Memorial Fund

Last month our community and beyond lost a bright light. Erin was a friend through friends, introduced to us back in our early days here (circa 2012). I couldn’t tell you when we were first introduced, or how. It was simply that one day, Erin was a friend that I’d bump into around Alaska.

She was kind, she was funny, and she was a total badass. I knew her as an amazing skier, a backcountry woman, a woman doing things I could only dream of being brave enough to attempt. And, she did it with ease and humility and humor.

Two memories (albeit fuzzy, given the circumstances) stick out with her passing: Christmas eve-eve-eve 2013 or 2014, when our mutual friends rented the Manitoba cabins and we filled every bunk and inch of floor space with bodies. I remember catching a second wind mid-evening, and sitting around the table with Erin, her then-boyfriend Abe, dog Scamp, Adam and other friends laughing, and laughing, and laughing. The next day we skied, and Erin, Adam, friend Jared and others shredded the big hills while I lapped the smaller section (‘practicing my turns’ I said… yea right.).

The next happy memory doesn’t have much meat behind it, but good vibes. I went to the Blue Fox with my friend Stacia, and maybe her husband John, and when we walked into the bar, Erin was sitting at the bar with someone. And come to find out, I knew Erin and Stacia knew Erin’s friend, Aliza. We merged our duos (or more, if John was there) and shared beer and laughs. That memory doesn’t stick out as anything particular except highlighting the importance and joy of small communities, friends with friends who know friends, and what relationships can do.

To honor Erin’s memory and keep her spirit alive, her parents have set up a memorial fund with the Alaska Community Foundation. Take a look, consider giving, and share with friends and family who might also be inspired to keep this special gal’s memory and light alive.

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