Erin Renee Witherspoon Sipe
September 16, 1976 - October 12, 2021
Erin Renee Witherspoon Sipe, 45, passed peacefully Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. Surrounded by her cherished family, she peacefully left her earthly home leaping into the arms of her Heavenly Father. Her faith has now become her sight.
Born Sept. 16, 1976, in Statesville, Erin grew up in the Claremont community and attended St. John's Lutheran Church (Conover) throughout her childhood. She married the love of her life, Kevin Neill Sipe and together built a beautiful life with their two daughters, Kara Nan and Anna Renee.
The daughter of Gary and Susan Witherspoon of Claremont, Erin is also survived by Kevin Neill Sipe of Hickory; and daughters, Kara Nan and Anna Renee of the home. Other surviving loved ones include brother, Matthew, his wife, Crystal; and nieces, Kate and Emma; grandmother, Edith Miller (Claremont); and a host of extended family whom she loved dearly.
Erin is preceded in death by paternal grandparents, Joe and Mildred Witherspoon (Conover); and maternal grandfather, Roy Miller (Claremont).
Erin's loving influence spans many years and many lives, as she fulfilled her lifelong purpose of educator. She began her teaching journey in her 8th grade year by assisting her dance teacher, Treva Hager, and also teaching Sunday school. Throughout college, she taught private swim lessons for the community at her home, through the Conover YMCA, and for Paul and Cathy Schiffel with the Hickory Stingrays. To formally fulfill her passion for teaching, she attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte as a NC Teaching Fellow and graduated magna cum laude in 1998 with the honor of being named Student Teacher of the Year.
From 1998 to 2003, Erin taught English at Bunker Hill High School, her alma mater, before raising her family and teaching her children through homeschooling. During this time, she worked part-time for Catawba County Schools at Bunker Hill High and Mill Creek Middle, while also providing homebound instruction and after school tutoring for homeless children.
Her gift of teaching continued as the director of Children's Ministry at St. Stephens L.C.M., where she led children's church, midweek family ministry, and the backpack food ministry outreach to St. Stephens Elementary School. Erin's expertise was also used as a Group Publishing Curriculum Ambassador for North Carolina, Tennessee, and South Carolina training and equipping churches with the children's program and Vacation Bible School curricula.
Many of us know her through her homeschooling influence, especially The Front Porch Place English Enrichment, where she founded and taught English classes to hundreds of area homeschoolers for 15-plus years every Tuesday. In recent years, she hosted field trips, travel opportunities, and monthly socials for area homeschoolers, in addition to co-coordinating the Catawba Valley Homeschool Prom while also serving as club advisor and initiating the Catawba Valley Homeschool Junior Beta and Beta Clubs.
Erin was also an online English instructor for homeschool families and department chair and mentor for Landry Academy and Excelsior Classes. Her many skills were highlighted as a writer for RT Marketing, Inc. and Georgia Professional Builder magazine. In 2018, Erin returned to the classroom at Hickory Christian Academy as a high school English teacher and drama production assistant.
Among her many gifts of teaching, writing, and leading, most importantly she taught us all to love, listen, and live well. She exemplified this impact through her volunteer work and establishment of the "Live Well Love Well" movement. Erin loved to serve others, specifically children and teenagers. She participated in many mission trips to inner city Richmond, Va., Orlando, Fla., and Nicaragua, as well as leading as a camp counselor and kids camp week director at Camp Linn Haven in Linville. She also served as team coordinator for Carolina Select Volleyball Club. She has served as a Stephen Minister as part of the care ministry and served in both youth ministry and hospitality ministry at Discovery Church. She initiated and facilitated several life groups and led women's Bible study groups after her stage IV diagnosis.
Published by Statesville Record & Landmark on Oct. 17, 2021.