Catherine Vuolo Erskine, a longtime resident of La Cañada, died Friday after a long and valiant battle against cancer. She was 59.
Erskine was active as a parent volunteer in a range of organizations around the community, where she raised four children. In particular, she was a member of the site council at Palm Crest Elementary, responsible for student safety and emergency preparations. Teachers there remember her for her humor, people skills and sly “Mona Lisa smile.”
At La Cañada Presbyterian Church, she was the board chair for the popular Parent Ed program in 2006-07, a transitional year between directors. She also served on the search committee that hired the program’s current director, Anne Bierling.
Catherine was born Dec. 12, 1958 in Brooklyn, N.Y., to Mike and Charlotte Vuolo. Her father, a pharmacist, moved the family to Hollywood, Fla., near Miami, when she was 7.
As a young journalist, she served as deputy editor of the Hollywood Sun-Tattler food section. She later worked as a mortgage banker, and more recently as the health clerk at Verdugo Woodlands Elementary in Glendale. At the time of her death, she was a human resources administrator at the South Pasadena Unified School District.
She was diagnosed with Stage 4 endometrial cancer in January 2017 and courageously endured a nonstop series of treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy. Her brave journey, chronicled in the Middle Ages column of the Los Angeles Times, was followed by thousands of readers across Southern California.
She is survived by her husband, Chris, and three of her children, Jessica, Emily and Jack, as well as her sisters Carolyn, Stephanie and Nikki. Her oldest son, Christopher, died in a traffic accident in March.
A public memorial will be held at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at La Cañada Presbyterian Church, 626 Foothill Blvd., with a private reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks donations go to the Parent Ed Program at La Cañada Presbyterian Church, 626 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada, CA 91011. For more information email Linda@lacanadapc.org, or (818) 790-6708, Ext. 230.
Donations may also be made to USC Norris Cancer Center (Put “Dr. Lynda Roman’s research fund” on the memo line). The address: USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, 1441 Eastlake Ave., Suite 8302, Los Angeles, CA 90089.