Thursday, December 13, 2018
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Refreshments will be served.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Although she was taken from her loved ones much too soon, Erica Holbert made a significant impact in the lives of so many around her. She was hardworking and determined, but her true passion in life was to inspire others to reach their full potential. Loving and compassionate, Erica was deeply devoted to her family as there was no place she would rather be than surrounded by their love. Although life will never be the same without Erica here, she leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
The 1980s were an exciting time in American history. It was the decade when home movies began chronicling our lives, phones became part of cars, and shows like Growing Pains, Family Matters, and Full House entertained us in our homes. Amidst these exciting years was a time of great joy in the lives of Todd and Leslie (Nowak) Bierman. They announced the birth of their baby girl they named Erica on February 4, 1986, in Dothan, Alabama. The oldest of three, she was joined in her family by her siblings, Katelyn and Tara. Throughout her life, Erica always took care of her two younger sisters and was the “mom” of the trio.
From the time she was a young girl, Erica was a bustle of activity. She was known as a sweet kid who was always focused on helping others. While she wanted everything to be perfect, she could also be content when they weren’t. As a young girl she liked playing soccer. When she was a teen, Erica spent her summers working at KRESA in the gym and pool. She enjoyed this from the time she was in middle school through college. Her work was primarily with autistic children and young adults. Gifted in many ways, she belonged to the Kalamazoo Choir. Erica’s high school years found her at Portage Central High School where she was on the volleyball team. This was her passion, and many of her friends came from her participation in volleyball. Erica was also the assistant editor of the high school yearbook. After graduating from high school, she went on to earn her teaching degree from Western Michigan University. While there, and even after graduating, Erica coached local travel volleyball teams.
With her education behind her, Erica was poised for a rewarding career. She started off teaching pre-K in Three Rivers, and she then taught fifth grade in Portage. From there, Erica found a position at a charter school in Augusta teaching multiple grades at a time; kindergarten through second grade. She loved working with kids and was passionate about making a difference in the lives of her students; she knew she had the unique opportunity to set them up for success. Erica’s primary focus continued to be on kids with special needs and disabilities. She made sure that her students had a safe environment in which to learn, while also helping them build their self-esteem and know that they were deeply loved. Erica fully invested herself in every child and even took time outside of school to attend many school activities that her students were a part of. Her fellow teachers described Erica as dedicated, caring, and professional in her work.
There was never anything of greater importance in Erica’s life than her family. She looked forward to trips to Disney World with her parents and sisters as it was one of her favorite places to go. There were also frequent long weekend trips to a family cottage in Charlevoix, which was a great place to fish and relax. Erica loved playing with her niece, Rylee, and nephew, Jake. New and exciting changes were in store for Erica when she met the love of her life. His name was James “Jimmy Yimmy” Holbert. When they met, they clicked in the first 10 minutes and then spent several hours talking about everything under the sun. From that night forward they knew they would spend the rest of their lives together. Deeply in love, Erica and James were united in marriage in a beautiful summer wedding at a barn in Wayland on August 9, 2014. Their typical date night was usually spent at Brann’s Steakhouse, a movie night in the ‘bungalow’ or sometimes a simple shopping spree together. After they were married, the newlyweds took a memorable honeymoon to Mackinaw Island where Erica loved the ghost tour, the haunted house, and parasailing. Erica considered the greatest days of her life to be her wedding day, the day she rescued her dog Luna, and her sister Tara’s last day of chemo. She had fun when her husband taught her how to target shoot and bow hunt. Erica loved spending time with her grandmother who lived just a few doors down, and they often watched old black and white movies and talent shows together. Her dog, Luna, and rescue cats, Salem and Bella, were like additional members of her family as Erica loved them deeply. She and Luna were destined to be together as Luna came right up to Erica without hesitation at the adoption site.
A woman of many interests, Erica was always busy. She enjoyed reading, crafts, gardening, writing poetry, and more recently an interest in cooking. Erica loved any activity that involved water including swimming, tubing, skiing, kayaking and just floating around relaxing. Fall was her favorite season, and Halloween was Erica’s favorite holiday. She even dressed up in the hospital to hand out candy! She enjoyed alternative rock and country music. She also loved watching Winnie the Pooh, The Nightmare before Christmas, and the Detroit Red Wings. Erica read Angela’s Ashes many times. As her family and friends can attest, she often said, “Easy Peasy,” or, “That’s Life!.”
Bubbly, outgoing, and fun-loving, Erica Holbert was a blessing in the lives of so many. She was an amazing role model who exemplified what it looks like to do for others without worrying about the personal reward in doing so. Erica never let anything bother her and took everything in stride helping remind others to worry less and spend more time just enjoying life. Dearly loved, she will be forever missed. As one of her favorite quotes from Winnie the Pooh reads, “If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever”.
Erica Holbert died on December 9, 2018. Erica’s family includes her husband, James Holbert; parents: Todd and Leslie Bierman; 2 sisters: Katelyn (Fiancé Kevin Crill) and Tara Bierman (Husband Barry Toornman); grandparents: Robert and June Bierman, and Lydia Nowak; 1 niece: Rylee; and 1 nephew: Jake. Visit with family and friends on Thursday (Dec 13) from 5pm-7 p.m. while sharing food and refreshments at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. A funeral service will be celebrated Friday at 11am at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, 1150 W Centre Ave, with visitation beginning at 10am. A luncheon will follow in the church hall. Cremation will follow. Please visit Erica’s personal web page at www.betzlerfuneralhome.com, where you can read her story, archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Paws With A Cause.