Karen Michelle Erskine, 35: Always the life of the party

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SOUTH PORTLAND – Karen Michelle Erskine, 35, died unexpectedly Jan. 14 at her home. 

Erskine was born in Portland on May 10, 1977, a daughter of John William Wright and Donna Lucille Horner Wright. She attended the Small School and was a 1995 graduate of South Portland High School, where she was a member of the color guard.

She married Jarrod Shane Erskine in November 1998. Before becoming a full-time mother and homemaker, she worked as a waitress at Embassy Suites in Portland. 

She enjoyed spending time with her family and friends, especially around the campfire with a Twisted Tea. She co-founded the “Race 4 Angel,” a 5K road race that benefited the Maine Children’s Cancer Foundation in honor of her good friend Raelyn Reny.

Her four children were her pride and joy and she was an extremely dedicated advocate for her son, Brayden, who has been fighting leukemia. She became a strong advocate for families in the hospital cancer unit and shared their hurts, joys, triumphs and struggles.

She will be remembered as a wonderful friend who would stop everything at the drop of a hat to help someone in need. Her personality made her the life of the party. 

Her best friends, Jolene Pike and Jen McWilliams, were like sisters to her and she always referred to Pike as her husband’s “second wife.”

Erskine is survived by her husband, Jarrod Erskine of South Portland; children Katelin, Shane, Noah and Brayden; mother, Donna Wright of Falmouth; father, John Wright Sr. and his wife, Janis, of South Portland; sister, Tina Maietta and her husband, Robbie, of South Portland; two brothers, John Wright Jr. and his wife, Melanie, of South Portland and Joe Wright and his wife, Melissa, of South Portland; mother-in-law, Mary Erskine of South Portland; brothers and sisters-in-law, Jamie and Belinda Erskine, Joe and Samantha Erskine, and Linky and Chantelle Erskine; nieces and nephews, Ashley and Jessica Maietta, Jordan and Jacob Wright, Ian, Victoria and Christopher Wright, Andrew, Geoffrey and Grace Erskine, Morgan Erskine, Riley Erskine and Bubba Joseph; her aunt and uncles, Carol and David Galloway, and Peter Eskilson; and several cousins. 

Funeral services will be held Friday, Jan. 18, at 11:45 a.m. at Conroy-Tully Crawford’s South Portland Chapel. This will be followed by a 12:30 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial at Holy Cross Church. Burial will follow in Calvary Cemetery, South Portland. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Raelynn Reny Guardian Angel Fund, c/o John Wright, 40 Cash St., South Portland, ME 04106, or Camp Sunshine, 35 Acadia Road, Casco, ME 04015.