Bainbridge High School graduate and community volunteer Erin O’Brien Mead died Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle at the age of 46.
She was born Jan. 5, 1972 in Bellevue, and moved to the island with her family in 1981. She grew up on Pleasant Beach, next door to her grandparents Robert and Dorothy O’Brien.
Erin was an active student and athlete at Bainbridge High School, earning 10 varsity letters in softball, basketball and soccer.
After graduating in 1990, she went on to study at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, where she played soccer and was a member and president of the Delta Gamma sorority. She met the love of her life and best friend Jeff Mead during their freshman year. Erin graduated in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, and went on to earn a master’s degree in teaching in 1995.
Erin and Jeff married on July 22, 1995, and moved to Kingston, where they lived for 14 years. Erin taught special education for six years at Poulsbo Junior High School. Their children Cayley and Joshua were born in 2002 and 2005. In 2010, the Meads moved to the family property at Pleasant Beach.
Erin volunteered with numerous community, school and service organizations throughout North Kitsap, including Kiwanis, Rotary and Optimist Clubs, and the Kitsap Humane Society. She helped to organize dozens of fundraising events, often working tirelessly and quietly behind the scenes. Most recently, she was an instrumental contributor to the last several Blakely Elementary School auctions, and enjoyed hosting events for Rotary.
Erin was born with an innate desire to give and possessed a truly altruistic purpose. Her generosity was boundless, and she gave her love and support to family, friends, strangers and animals without a desire for recognition. Erin’s personality shone through a unique blend of easy-going kindness, inspiring enthusiasm, and a brilliant sense of humor. Her graciousness and ability to make others feel special were defining character traits, whether she was welcoming friends into her home or giving a warm smile or a hug in Winslow.
Erin is survived by her husband of 22½ years, Jeff; daughter, Cayley; and son, Joshua; her parents, Bob and Jan O’Brien; her sister, Cori O’Brien; brother-in-law, Jess Goldwater; and nieces, Clara and Alyssa; all of Bainbridge Island.
A celebration of Erin’s life was held March 3 at Grace Episcopal Church.
In lieu of flowers, Erin’s family greatly appreciates memorial contributions to the Erin O’Brien Mead Memorial Scholarship Fund through Bainbridge Community Foundation, which will help give opportunities to Bainbridge Island youth interested in post-secondary education. In honor of Erin’s love of animals, contributions may also be made to the Kitsap Humane Society. (https://bcf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=1086 and https://www.kitsap-humane.org/donate)
Sign the online guest book for the family at www.cookfamilyfuneralhome.com.