Erin A. Eckhart Memorial & Expenses

Erin A. Eckhart, known as "Aunt E." to family (and many friends, too) and as "Miss Erin" to the countless children she loved and cared for as a teacher and camp director, lived for the joy in the world - for the smiles of her neices and nephews, the snuggles with a furry friend, cozying up with a book and a cup of cocoa no matter the time of year, singing songs with her "kids" in the classroom, discovering salamanders on a nature hike, watching baby bunnies from the porch of the Frosty Drew Nature Center, having sleepovers with her girl scout troop... Just like every other living thing in nature - robins, lillies, ladybugs, willow trees, cats, owls, and so on - her story on this beautiful earth has a beginning and an end and endless amounts of living, loving, growing, and adventuring in between. She filled her time here with long weeks with family and friends in a favorite Cape Cod cabin, Saturday morning dance classes, sleepovers, family swim nights at the Y, and trips to Sesame Place with her first 2 neices (her Lou-Ann and Kokomo as she lovingly called them), cave exploring and wilderness hikes with her longtime friends (Wendy, Phil, Val), family birthday parties, fun as a girl scout leader with her youngest neice's troup (Mollie), caring for the animals at "her" camp/nature center, taking photographs to commemorate every event and activity she took part in (making camp journals/scrapbooks for every camper, getting group photos every holiday of her sister's 7 children, getting the perfect shot at her nephew, Dylan's basketball games and her grand-nephew Liam's karate classes), enjoying the autumnal colours at the annual Wee Faerie Villiage art installation in Lyme, Ct, journalling, watching her favorite movies with a blanket and her favorite cats over the years (Ivy, Sophie Rose, PK...), weekends of Saturday Night Live with her sister Brin, attending school plays put on by her brother Brett - and that's just the tip of the iceburg. Erin's life has been full and her impact on those around her has been profound. 
On Thursday July 27th, she started suffering from tremendous headaches and still made it to Ninigret for her camp kids with her assistant, neice - Colleen, on Friday morning. The following week she headed to her brother's to dog sit while they were on vacation despite ongoing pain after being given antibiotics for what the doctors concluded was migraines from her Lyme disease flaring up. Defiant to the end she insisted that she would make it to camp the following monday even if she had to hitch hike...because it wasn't a job to her - it was what she loved to do. That Sunday, August 6, 2017, however, she suffered from what we learned were complications from an undiagnosed aneurysm. A few days later, after emergency surgery and a hospital stay during which she remained unconscious, she passed away. Our family believes that her soul left her body that Sunday and has been watching over us as a loving angel every since. 
No amount of words could ever do justice to her life well lived, the hearts and lives she touched, her sacrifices, her love of creatures big and small, and her child-like energy and enthusiasm. 
A private family memorial and scattering of ashes will take place this autumn at Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford, Ct where she spent countless sunny days as a child splashing in the waves at the beach and as an adult having family picnics and summer days roaming the elaborate gardens.
There will be a public memorial and dedication at the Frosty Drew Nature Center in Ninigret State Park in Charlestown, RI where she served as the head of their Nature Weeks summer camp program for almost 15 years. The date of the public memorial is forthcoming - we're trying to set something up for the beginning of September. 
This fundraiser's aim is to satisfy the costs of the funeral home and the public memorial service, with any remaining funds to go to the planting of a bird and butterfly garden at her beloved nature center and depending on the amount raised, she would be thrilled if, on her behalf, we were able to make a final donation to the nature center at Ninigret that she had come to consider her home. We would like to get the majority of contributions in the next 2 weeks (by Sept. 2) in order to utilize them as described above.
Our hearts go out to everyone who is grieved by her unexpected passing...sending light and love your way during this challenging time. The world will never be the same without her and our lives are richer for having been loved by her. 

I want to close with a quote that I found while cleaning out her apartment these past weeks that I know she would want everyone of you to be encouraged by:

Live life to the FULLEST. It's not always about the ending - it's about the STORY. Never Stop Dreaming. Remember YOU ARE EXTRAORDINARY.
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Kori Eryn Rathbun 
Griswold, CT
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