Erica Lee Kerstiens passed away on April 12, 2013, after a short, courageous fight with cancer. She was born on November 12, 1973, in Chicago Heights, Ill and was raised in Los Alamos. She graduated from Los Alamos High School and attended New Mexico State University. She loved animals and worked in veterinary clinics in New Mexico and Virginia. Her last job was as a Project Specialist at the DOE National Training Center on Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque.
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She is preceded in death by paternal grandparents Frank and Marjorie Kerstiens; maternal grandfather Robert Oehlkers; and step-brother Jonathan (Jon) Garcia. She is survived by children Kylee and Gavin; mother Debora Kerstiens; father and step-mother Lyle and Teresa Kerstiens; brother and sister-in-law Eron and Teri Kerstiens; step-sister Jennifer Garcia; sister-in-law Michelle Garcia; maternal grandmother Vivian Oehlkers; and her dog and numerous cats. She is also survived by the father of her children James Elwell as well as aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and many, many close and dear friends.
Her children were the love of her life and she was a terrific mother. Erica will always be remembered for her love of animals including dogs, cats, ferrets, and hamsters. She was constantly taking in a dog or a cat that needed a home or to be fostered.
Her wishes were to be cremated with burial in Los Alamos. A celebration of her life will be scheduled at a later date. Donations can be made to the Erica Kerstiens Medical Fund at any Los Alamos National Bank branch or to the Valencia County Animal Shelter in her name. The family of Erica Lee Kerstiens have entrusted the care of their loved one to DeVargas Funeral Home and Crematory of the Espa?ola Valley. 505-747-7477 or devargasfuneral.com.
DeVargas Funeral Home
623 N. Railroad Ave.
Espanola, NM 87532
Published in Los Alamos Monitor from Apr. 20 to Apr. 22, 2013