86, passed away peacefully on August 2, 2014 in Santa Barbara with her son by her side. Born November 23, 1927 in Ventspils, Latvia, Erika grew up on a large farm and completed high school in Germany where she would work as a dental assistant. Shortly after World War II, she immigrated with her family to Canada. It was in Alberta, Canada where she met and married the love of her life, Henry on April 2, 1950. After the birth of their son, they relocated to Terrace, British Columbia where she and Henry were pioneers, subdividing property and constructing a number of new homes. In1962, the family came to Santa Barbara where they proudly became naturalized US citizens.
Erika was a wonderful wife and mother. A lovely and remarkable woman of many talents, she was also an accomplished seamstress and clothing designer with her very own label. Cooking was a pure joy for her. She would create everything from large family dinners to baked items and pastries. She loved music, playing piano and singing Sinatra songs. There were numerous family travel adventures throughout the US, Canada and fun times in Las Vegas where she and Henry also celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2000.
Erika will be deeply missed by all of those she touched in her long life. Her big smile, gentle demeanor, and compassion for others continued until her last day. We take comfort in the fact that the Lord has reunited her with her beloved husband, Henry.
Erika was predeceased by her husband Henry Gates in 2009 after 59 wonderful years of marriage, 2 brothers, Adolph Straume (Romelia) of Torrance, and Robert Straume (Gloria) of Toronto. She is survived by her son, Garry Gates of Santa Barbara, a cousin, Olita Maier of Woodland Hills, a sister-in-law, Hedy Andrews of Vancouver and many nieces and nephews.
Memorial services will be held on Thursday, August 14, 1:00 PM at the Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapel, 15 E. Sola St., Santa Barbara.