In memory of

Erin Solomon

Sep 20, 1972
Dec 31, 2015


Erin Nepenthe Solomon, favorite auntie, maker of gifts and devoted friend, died after a brief illness in her Salem home, just after midnight on Dec. 31. She was 43 years old.

Erin could carry on an entire conversation in movie quotes, bake a mouthwatering peach pie, and was an award-winning counted cross-stitch artist. Erin was especially loved by her nieces and nephews, who enjoyed one-on-one time with her during “Auntie outings.” They could look forward to her traveling cross-country, if needed, to be there for special moments in their lives.

Erin was born the third child of Norman King Solomon and Mary Leora Mattson Solomon on Sept. 20, 1972, at the Annapolis Naval Station in Annapolis, Maryland. There she was welcomed home by older sisters Julie and Heather. Known for her delightful sense of humor and infectious laugh, Erin enjoyed telling people she had been born at the “navel” academy.

Early on, she was known for her compassionate love for others. Her dad remembers that when Erin was little, there was never just one baby crying in church because Erin would burst into tears at the thought of another child being sad. She was cherished as the family’s peacemaker. Troubled by any fighting or arguments, she would find a way to make squabbling siblings laugh and make up. Erin chose “Nepenthe” when she wanted to add a middle name, as a reflection of her desire to help others heal. Figuratively, the word means “that which chases away trouble or sorrow.”

Erin had a way of talking with people one-on-one that made you feel like the only person in the universe. She made friends easily with people from many backgrounds and walks of life. Erin spent most of her free time helping others, and was a wonderful example of Christlike love. She comforted and cared for people who were sad or sick, gave rides to the transportation-challenged, organized charitable events at work, and acted as a second mom to nieces, nephews and children of her friends. Erin made many blankets, counted cross-stitch pictures, baked goods and other crafts to give away. She kept only a few of her numerous projects, because she shared almost everything with people she thought needed a little love.

Baby Erin moved with her family from Glen Burnie, Maryland to Logan, Utah, where fourth child Melissa was born. She then lived in Pocatello, Idaho, before moving to her hometown of Salem, Oregon just before Christmas in 1977. She joined her sisters in jumping on the couch to celebrate the birth of their first brother, Joel, shortly after the move, and again for their youngest brother, Dave, in 1980.

Erin developed a strong sense of integrity at a young age and earned Wright Elementary School’s award for “Always Being in the Right Place at the Right Time” at sixth grade graduation in June 1984.

Her love of music led her to play the clarinet and sing in her middle school choir. She also sang with her sisters in musical performances for her parents on a “stage” made of wooden chairs, sang in her church choir as a teen, and later enjoyed collecting music and making playlists for family members.

Erin graduated from eighth grade in June 1986 at Judson Middle School. Always goal-oriented, she decided to finish high school early and took summer school classes to graduate from Sprague High School in June 1989 at age 16.

A lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Erin served an 18-month mission for the church in Knoxville, Tennessee, beginning in October 1992. There she shared her testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel, volunteered at local Head Start classes and developed her love of the people of the South, with their warm hospitality and delicious cuisine.

Erin earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, in 1998, and a Master of Science in the same field from Capella University in 2010. At the time of her passing, she had completed all the coursework and research for her Ph.D. in psychology.

After earning her bachelor’s degree, Erin began full-time work, including 10 years at Oregon Department of Corrections. There she served as a librarian at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, followed by work in the office of religious services and the office of diversity and inclusion in Salem. Erin’s supervisor and mentor, Gary Sims, describes her as “kind, inspiring, giving, helping, helpful, gentle, gifted, insightful, resourceful, competent, powerful, spiritual, delightful, funny, holistic, strong, God loving,” and as someone who lived her faith.

Erin is survived by her maternal grandparents, Jay Deverl Mattson and Bertha Colene Dennis Mattson; her parents; her siblings, Julie Howard, Heather Cromar (Ryan), Melissa Hawes (Scott), Joel (Larissa) and Dave (Stephanie); and 13 of her beloved nephews and nieces: Blake, Brandon, Bonnie, Nathan, John, Emma, Ethan, Katie, Kayla, London, Carter, Miriam and Becca. Preceding her in death were her paternal grandparents, Charles Samuel Solomon (born Khalil bin Sleimaan al-Barchini) and Ettie Jane Taylor Solomon, and niece Threnody.

Friends and family are warmly invited to attend Erin’s funeral. Services will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 9, in the meetinghouse for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on 2530 Boone Road SE, in Salem, Oregon.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Erin’s memory may be made to The Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Foundation, which became a favorite charity of Erin’s after the hospital cared for a dear friend and a young niece.

Service Information

Funeral Service
Saturday January 9th, 2016 @ 11:00 AM
LDS Church Boone Road Building
2530 Boone Rd SE, Salem, OR 97306

Graveside Service
Saturday, January 9th 2016 @ 2:00 PM
Pleasant View Cemetery
SW Westfall Road
Sherwood, OR 97140


Messages of Sympathy

  1. Nichole Brown says:

    A special thank you to the Solomon family for sharing your beautiful Erin Solomon with our DOC family. She taught us so much about the true meaning of caring for one another and being our brothers keeper. She touched my life in a very special way. I will never forget the sweet, talented, intelligent, gentle, kind, fun loving and humorous, Erin. Praying that you may rest in the comfort of knowing she is in eternal peace.

  2. Jen Guzman says:

    Erin always had one foot in heaven, but it is still so hard to accept that she is no longer with us. I wish the entire Solomon clan peace and love as they navigate life without her.

    As a child, I remember Erin as a very kind and super smart older cousin. I remember that she brought me a flower to wear at my baptism. I remember being very impressed when I found out she graduated early from high school and then wondering if I could do the same (I couldn't!).

    I had my most contact with Erin when we were both at BYU together. She always had an encouraging word and a kind smile for me as I attempted to navigate a campus of thousands of puzzling Mormons. Julie, Brandon and Erin invited me to share Thanksgiving with them one year. I brought a sad plate of vegetables and was welcomed with heaps of gorgeous and delicious food, including Grandma's rice dressing. It was soothing balm for my homesickness. My senior year, Erin offered to drive back to Portland with me over winter break. I had assumed she needed a ride, but learned later that she worried about me driving alone. I appreciated her company, especially when we encountered a surprise snowstorm near Boise. Erin's fun conversation style and humor made the hours fly through an otherwise long and torturous drive.

    I can still remember her stories and hear her laughter in my little blue Honda Acura as we roll over the mountains on the way to spend Christmas with our families!

  3. Slade Brockett says:

    I first really got to know Erin when we took summer school PE together. Later we served together on a youth council at church. She was one of the kindest people I have ever met, but also had a great sense of humor. She will be missed by all who knew her well. I wish I could be there tomorrow to celebrate her life.

  4. Denise Ecker says:

    I was saddened to hear of Erin's passing. My thoughts are with your great family. I pray that this difficult time will be less painful as you reflect on sweet memories and lessons learned from Erin. She was a gentle example to all.

  5. Cindy Grenz says:

    I feel like we've known your family forever, we watched Erin grow up into an amazing woman. She was such an example of Christlike love and charity. It seems like she was always reaching out to others. Even as she struggled with physical difficulty she was making afghans and Christmas stockings. She will be miss by many yet I can't help but envision her in heaven free of her earthly bonds with all of the blessings Heavenly Father has in store for her.

  6. Debi and Guy Dana says:

    My memories of Erin are her growing up. Always dependable, always doing the right thing. While her loved ones will miss her here, I have no doubt that she is keeping watch over them, and will be their Guardian Angel. God chose to bring her home, and the Heavens rejoiced to receive her.

  7. Jennifer Hughes says:

    While I didn't know Erin very well, my couple of encounters with her showed a person of compassion for people and she would do anything for her family. Erin was so talented on many fronts, but I fondly remember when she put together a baby shower for her sister Melissa's second child London. It was purely breath taking and simply perfect in many ways that brought enjoy and happiness to everyone that experienced it. Erin was a rare gem in this world and I feel blessed to have had the pleasure of her aquintance. My deepest condolences to all her family.

  8. Crystal Johnson Thomas says:

    Dear Solomon family, Erin touched so many lives and my life was amazingly blessed because of her. She was kind and gentle to my children. Her devotion to motherhood was inspiring to me! She was a better mother than any women I know even though she had no children of her own. She was the greatest champion of the priesthood and of marriage even though she never found her eternal companion during her life on earth. I never got bored when I was with Erin. We could talk for hours about anything. I could tell her anything and know I would never be judged but loved unconditionally. I loved hearing her "auntie" stories. We would laugh so much at the cute and sweet things that her nieces and nephews did or said. We would have deep conversations about her older nieces and nephews and her love for them and her desires for them. My life was so different from Erins and yet I never had a better friend then her. I know that being without companionship and children was her greatest struggle. I know that she struggled with depression most of her life. I know the loneliness and the hardships that she faced. We cried together many times and we would hold each other and hug each other through difficult moments. I will miss her hugs dearly! I will miss her laugh and I will miss our long and deep conversations. But I take comfort in picturing her in heaven with our Savior and her heavenly parents. I know her depression and physical ailments are cast aside and she can fulfill her divine destiny of being a wife and a mother. I picture her educating others because of her incredible talents. I picture her as a missionary. And if there is a primary in heaven, Erin is helping run it! How I wish I could be with you to mourn the loss that you are experiencing and to celebrate the life that she lived. I will be with you in spirit and love you all dearly.

  9. Melodie Youngberg says:

    Someone said after Erin's passing, " Her spiritual suitcase was packed full." Erin modeled what living a Christ centered life really meant.
    I am grateful for the gifts she was able to leave for us to ponder, practice, and live up to.

  10. Miles Johnson says:

    Thank you for placing your trust in Johnson Funeral Home. Erin was a special soul who will be missed by so many in my family. May the spirit of comfort fill your lives at this difficult time.

    -Johnson Funeral Home Staff

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