WINDSOR/DEFOREST, WI. Erin MacKay Harvey Blasinski, age 38, entered unexpectedly into God's eternal care on Friday, September 4, 2020, in Madison.
Erin MacKay Harvey, born to Alan and Diane (Schultz) Harvey, burst enthusiastically into the world on August 1, 1982. She was born into a loving family in rural Windsor, Wisconsin, with four caring grandparents nearby.
Growing up in the same farmhouse that had sustained the Harvey family for 5 generations, Erin and her younger sisters Chandra and Teague had a childhood which allowed their imaginations to flourish. The sisters spent many happy hours enacting imaginary scenes from Tudor England, Laura Ingalls Wilder, the Titanic, and the Oregon Trail. Most of this Erin never outgrew.
For two cherished weeks each summer, the sisters stayed at their Schultz grandparents' cabin in Iron County - with no parents allowed! The seeds for Erin's love of the wilderness and outdoor adventures were planted there. Next to her home, it was her "dearest place on earth". Stays with the Harvey grandparents also grounded the sisters in love.
Erin thrived in high school, packing in every extracurricular activity she could. Band, choir, NHS, soccer, numerous firsts at the State Solo & Ensemble Music Tournaments, being a 3-time state finalist in Forensics, and fast friendships were part of her happy memories.
Erin loved the challenges and opportunities at UW-Madison, earning a double major in History and Vocal Performance. She had a lovely, "silvery" soprano voice, and throughout her life was accepted into every vocal ensemble and choir for which she auditioned: Madison Youth Choir; Wisconsin High School State Honors Choir; UW-Madison Concert Choir; and UW-Madison Madrigal. A treasured UW memory was performing with Tangled Up in Blue (the premier women's a cappella group on campus), and winning the regional a cappella championship. She never forgot the sisterhood of friends she found there. In later years she sang in the Madison Symphony Chorus, and her home church choir at Windsor United Church of Christ. Whether Erin was performing or listening, music wove multicolored strands throughout her life, giving her much joy.
Erin had her quirks. No bag of Skittles candy was safe around her; her sporadic attempts at a gluten-free diet were a laughable failure; she loved all wildlife except for "dreaded rodents"; and when she volunteered at the Dane County Humane Society, she wanted to adopt every cat she saw. Her remedy for people's problems was often: "more cats."
But approaching graduation, a dark cloud was forming on the horizon. The recreational drinking of campus life became something more. The deck was stacked against her: she was diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety, and suffered PTSD from a campus assault. These conditions all triggered her drinking.
With great hope, Erin married Matt “Biz” Blasinski on May 7, 2016. They enjoyed travel, concerts, kayaking, fishing, scuba diving, spoiling their beloved cat Scally, and taking flyfishing and logrolling lessons. Volunteer work was a constant with the Parrothead Club, the Packer Backers, the Madison lakes cleanup, and many other volunteer endeavors. Sadly, Erin's struggles with alcohol worsened, and the challenges proved insurmountable. After the divorce, Matt and his family continued their friendship with Erin and her family, and never stopped hoping for her return to health.
Erin's joyful embrace of life was contagious, and she lived from a grateful heart. Her photographer's eye found beauty everywhere, and she would often call people to “see”: a glorious sunset, a golden fall day; nothing escaped her wonder and delight. Books were a constant companion. She was a voracious and wide-ranging reader, an astute commentator on historical and current events, and a lifelong learner to the end.
Erin was beautiful, inside and out. She loved her family fiercely, as we did her. She was extravagant in her love for the people, passions and causes she held dear. She had a generous and forgiving heart, seeing the best in people, and people loved her. She never vilified others with a different point of view. Witty and playful, her smile and hearty laugh could light up a room. The achievements and volunteer work she accomplished in her short life was amazing, and she impacted others more than she knew. She was always drawn to God, and her open heart radiated love back into the world.
In the end, Erin’s light and promise were overcome by a disease more powerful than her. But her beautiful lifesong and the shining essence of who she was lives on in the people and world she loved. This is how we will remember her – and how she would want to be remembered.
Erin is survived by her parents, Alan and Diane Harvey, Windsor; her sisters Chandra (Mitch Weyer) Harvey of Lake Mills and Teague (Greg) Mawer of Madison; her grandmother Mary Ann Schultz of Poynette; nephew Weston Weyer of Lake Mills; aunts and uncles Steve and Pok Schultz of Poynette and Dwight and Bonnie Ziegler of DeForest; other cousins and relatives; and many friends.
She was preceded in death by her grandfather, William “Bill” Schultz of Poynette; grandparents Jerome and Dorothy Harvey of Windsor; and aunt Gail Kempfer of Windsor.
The family thanks David and Susan Norby, David Schipper, Kim Huff, Matt Blasinski and Lois Blasinski for their friendship, support, love, and prayers for Erin over the years. This meant so much to her. The family would also like to thank the Rev. Craig Jan-McMahon; Dr. Jessica Dalby; Erin’s AA friends; and caring members of Windsor Church.
Due to Covid-19, a private celebration of life was held at Erin's childhood home in Windsor on Saturday, September 19th, with the Rev. Craig Jan-McMahon officiating. "Home" was always very important to Erin. Like Erin herself, the service was filled with song.
May your spirit soar free, precious child -- released from your earthly trials at last, and knowing radiant new life with God. It was a privilege to be your family, and we thank God for the precious time we had together. We pray that God will teach us everything we need to learn through this heartbreaking loss, and that, like you, we will be lavish with love wherever we go. May all of us who loved and were loved by you honor your legacy in the way we live our lives.
As one last act of love from Erin, a word to those of you who might be struggling with addiction: please do not waste the precious life God gave you entangled in its grip. If you lose your struggle, the people who love you will grieve for the rest of their lives. It doesn't have to be this way, and you don't have to go it alone. Be honest with people you trust, gather your courage from deep within (you can do this!), and reach for the help you need. And know this: you are worthy of love, of joy, and a far better life. Erin will be cheering you on.
To view and sign this guestbook, please visit: www.ryanfuneralservice.com
Ryan Funeral Home
6924 Lake Road
DeForest, WI 53532
To send flowers to Erin's family, please visit our floral store.