After a long and brave struggle with a brain injury, Erin Bleecker Francis passed away into God's loving arms on May 7, 2016. Erin was a loving daughter, sister, wife, step-mother, aunt, great-aunt and friend. She was born in Bakersfield on May 29, 1956 to Keith and Peggy Bleecker. Erin attended local schools - Rushmore and St. Francis. Because of life-long chronic asthma, she had to leave Bakersfield in high school. She moved to La Jolla, CA and graduated from The Bishop's School class of 1975. Before leaving Bakersfield, Erin made many friends and loved ballet and riding horses.
A gifted musician, Erin moved to Santa Barbara, CA after graduating and graced many stages with her sparkling personality and beautiful voice. She sang in different genres, including gospel (her favorite), jazz, and blues equally well. Erin was a member of three bands over the years and sang in a gospel choir. In tune with her ancient Celtic heritage, Erin especially loved Irish music. She was very proud of her southern roots in Virginia, Mississippi and Texas as well, which extend back to colonial days. A life-long Episcopalian, Erin belonged to All Saints by the Sea Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara for 27 years. She was also a member of the junior league of Santa Barbara. It was whilst living the bohemian Santa Barbara musicians' lifestyle that Erin met the love of her life, Bill Francis. She left the sailboat she'd been living aboard to become his wife and loving step-mother to step-daughter Kate. After many happy years, to be nearer to her family, Erin and Bill moved to Kernville in 2003, above the air of Bakersfield. Although it was there that she was injured, Erin loved living in the mountains as well as by the sea.
Erin was preceded in death by her father, T. Keith Bleecker. She is survived by her mother Peggy, husband Bill and step-daughter Kate, sister Betsy Bleecker Wallace (Bart), sister Molly Bleecker, niece Alison Wallace Farler (Ryan) and grand-nephews Henry and Jack, nephew Drew McClain Wallace and grand-nieces Skylar and Jordyn. There are many cousins in Virginia who love and will miss Erin.
To describe Erin is easy: bright, kind, generous, loving, funny, talented, wild and free. She was passionate about her family, her music and making our wonderful world a better place. Now she is free of this life's bonds and lives in Heaven with the Lord, where the Angels sing.
Erin's one wish was to find a cure for brain injuries. Donations may be made to the Brain Injury Association of California. www.biacal.org Services will be held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 2216 17th Street, Bakersfield, CA, on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by the Reverend Tim Vivian. An Irish wake will be held in Erin's honor at Stockdale Country Club, 7001 Stockdale Hwy., Bakersfield, CA, after her service at 3:00 p.m. All who remember Erin are welcome.
A private family interment at Historic Union Cemetery will take place later. For additional information, please contact Doughty-Calhoun-O'Meara Funeral Home at (661) 324-9821.
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