August 7, 1928 – October 12, 2018
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, sister, grandmother, great-grandmother and aunt, Erika Holler Ricker. Born on August 7, 1928 in Salzburg, Austria to Hans and Antonia Meierhofer, Erika was the eldest of five children. She left school early to help support her mother and siblings during the tumultuous post-war years, working first as an interpreter for the American Army and then in the Canadian Consulate. It was there that she met Anton Holler, a naturalized Canadian also born in Austria. They married in May 1949 and travelled to Summerland where Erika enthusiastically embraced her new life as a farmer’s wife and mother. She raised eight children, instilling in them the values of hard work, lifelong learning, and compassion. She also built a special and loving relationship with Anton’s daughter Marie, who was close to Erika in age but for whom she was always “Mom”. There was nothing too difficult for her to take on, whether it be raising cattle, household repairs, or driving a car and trailer throughout the western United States, all eight children in tow.
In her 40s, she completed her secondary education with high marks, setting a standard for her children to follow, before completing the Professional Development Program in Education and earning a Bachelor’s degree at Simon Fraser University. She taught at Trout Creek Elementary and Giant’s Head Elementary from 1977 to 1993 and is remembered fondly by her many students and their parents. She loved her colleagues and students, and remembered her school years as one of the best times of her life.
Erika was an enthusiastic hiker and amateur botanist, completing the Fur Brigade Trail and the West Coast Trail, as well as making multiple trips to Cathedral Lake Provincial Park. In retirement, she traveled extensively to Australia, New Zealand, China, South America, Oceania, and Europe with her second husband Norbert Ricker. With Norbert, she took up ballroom dancing, spending many evenings cutting the rug on cruise ships and dances. She loved singing, first with her children, then her students and finally with the Heidelberg Club Choir. She read voraciously, and was always up for a passionate discussion of current affairs or public policy.
For most of her life, she was a gardener par excellence, coaxing amaryllis and orchids to bloom year after year, raising rafts of bedding plants, and harvesting bumper crops of vegetables. Despite how busy she was on the farm, her kitchen produced a steady flow of delicacies: dumplings, cakes, breads, strudels, Kaiserschmarren and Christmas baking not only for her family, but for neighbours and church sales. Her grandchildren remember that she never missed a birthday, sending cards and gifts to each one of them, despite their ever growing number. Her energy, cheerfulness, bravery, optimism, compassion, eloquence and capability were legendary.
She was predeceased by her parents, husbands Anton Holler and Norbert Ricker, sister Helga and brother Gerhard. She is survived by her sister Sigrun (Richard) Fuhr; brother Ingo (Teresa) Meierhofer; sister-in-law Faye Meierhofer; numerous nieces and nephews; stepdaughter Marie (Norm) Bradford; children: Joan Mason (Larry Elford), Dr. Tony (Barbara) Holler, Margaret Holler (Murray Syrnyk), Ingrid Holler, Michael Holler (Sandra Templeton), Frank (Anita) Holler, Peter Holler and Dr. Jacqueline Holler (Michael Busch); 30 grandchildren (Janice, Judith, Laura, Lisa, Gordon, David, Katherine, Christopher, Andrew, Matthew, Eric, Michael, Alexandra, Jonathan, Anthony, Katerina, Alecia, Lauren, Conor, Brenna, Sean, Alyson, Dane, Petra, Anton, Anastasia, Helga, Ursula, Kasondra and Scott); and 20 great-grandchildren (Alexandria, Cole, Finn, Norah, Isaac, Adam, Jonas, Gwyneth, Ian, William, Soren, Marcus, Nora, Lennon, Chasity, Hunter, Mason, Sancia, Damien and Astrid).
Erika resided at Summerland Seniors Village since March 2017. We are grateful to Drs. Tatham and Wilson and to the nurses, recreation staff and care aides for their kind and compassionate care. We give special thanks to Rachel, Deb and Teresa who were her regular caregivers.
A celebration of her life will be held Saturday, October 20, 2018 at 10:00 am at Providence’s Summerland Chapel, 13205 Rosedale Avenue, Summerland, BC.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Erika’s memory to Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada – Okanagan/Kootenay Area Office, 4-1551 Sutherland Ave., Kelowna, BC V1Y 9M9, Parkinson Society British Columbia, 600-890 West Pender St., Vancouver, BC V6C 1J9 or the South Okanagan Women in Need Society, 102-1027 Westminster Ave. W., Penticton, BC V2A 1LT.
Condolences may be directed to the family through providencefuneralhomes.com 250-494-7752.