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. Joel Solomon says:

    This time of year, approaching the holidays and the day you passed away, I miss you a lot.

  2. Jaye Bahre says:

    I met you oh so briefly at a diversity conference a few months ago. You talked to me when no one else was and I found your openness sweet. We talked about work and you told me you were presenting that day. I missed your presentation but I wished you well anyway. You seemed like such a nice person and your passing shocked me when I found it in my email. You did God's work while you were on earth and I know you will be missed by anyone and everyone you ever met. Rest well Erin.

  3. Renae Johnson Williams says:

    Oh, dear Erin! How I will miss her. She has been a friend since my early youth. I have many memories of hanging out in each other’s homes and talking of what are lives would be like when we married and had children. She insisted her boys could spit over balconies to their hearts content but would never play football! We attended BYU together, enjoyed temple trips after her mission and my marriage when we both lived in Utah. Even spent time in ER rooms with her! We have stayed friends over the years and enjoyed many visits when in the same city, phone calls and text up until her final week. Rarely a complaint, endlessly thinking of others and so very, very calm and kind. I treasure her example. It takes real strength and faith to stay to true to your God and faith when the righteous desires of your heart are withheld from you in this life. Having shared those desires with Erin as children and watched her stay so good without them strengthens me and I hope to grow up and be more like her! I send all the love and prayers I can to her wonderful family at this difficult time.

  4. Norm Solomon says:

    One of my fondest memories of Erin was her sixth grade graduation ceremony at Faye Wright School. Awards were given out for various categories and characteristics: "Most Friendly," "Most Humorous," Most Studious." etc. After the students would shout out their random guesses for each award — "Jim!" "Cathy!" "Megan!" Robb!" — the teacher would announce the recipient. When the category "Always in the Right Place, at the Right Time, Doing the Right Thing," all of the students shouted in unison, "Erin!" I was so proud I could bust!

  5. Wendy Randolph says:

    I'm so saddened by this news. I knew Erin for just a very short span in her life while she was in Provo, but I remember her bubbly personality and a smile that was quite infectious. Very pleasant to be around. May you all find peace at such a trying time.

  6. Barbara Hansen Cluff says:

    Oh how everybody loved Erin! She had such a kind, gentle and humble nature that made people naturally want to be with her. I always admired her super intellect! I will never forget high school lunches around the table with Erin. She always took the high road and never said an unkind word. May your family be filled with sweet memories and incredible peace during this difficult time.

  7. Gary Nees says:

    Norm, I am so sorry for your family's loss. I wish I could have known your wonderful daughter. You have our thoughts and prayers.

  8. Pat Brockett says:

    What a beautiful memorial service for Erin today. May the memories of seeing so many attend hoping to bring some measure comfort to you at this time be reassuring to you that she was loved and so are you. May God be with you.

  9. Gary and Sue Smith says:

    Norm and Mary, you raised a true example of what a Daughter and Disciple of God emulates. Our hugs and prayers surround you.

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