Kathryn Blecatsis Erskine

  • Born: April 28, 1945
  • Died: February 15, 2020
  • Location: Manchester, New Hampshire

Phaneuf Funeral Homes & Crematorium - Hanover Street

243 Hanover Street
Manchester, NH 03104

Tel. (603) 625-5777

Tribute & Message From The Family

Kathryn Blecatsis Erskine, 74, of Manchester, NH, died of complications from ovarian cancer on Saturday, February 15th, at Catholic Medical Center.

Kathy was born April 28, 1945 in St. Petersburg, FL, a daughter of John and Effie (Koyiades) Blecatsis and had been a lifelong resident of the Manchester, NH community.

Kathy was a 1963 graduate of Manchester Central High School and a 1967 graduate of Wellesley College. She received her Masters in Social Work from Simmons College in 1969.

Her career in social work led Kathy to several non-profits and agencies in NH. As a Title 1 social worker for many years, Kathy worked tirelessly as an advocate for children and families. She was a Homeless Liaison for the Manchester School District, and she was also instrumental in developing the district's Title 1 preschool program. Social justice was her passion, and she was respected by everyone who had the privilege to work with her. She was a mentor to many, and a strong advocate for early childhood education and a champion for improving the lives of low-income children and their families.

Kathy enjoyed needlework, painting, and loved the seacoast. She loved her family and adored her grandchildren. She is remembered by her friends and family as an incredibly kind and loving person with an infectious generosity of spirit. Kathy was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Manchester.

Kathy's husband of 47 years, Dick Erskine, passed in 2017. Other family includes: her daughter Kate Erskine, and Kate's wife Jolene McWhirter, and their children, Cora and Margo, all of Manchester, NH; her son Greg Erskine and Greg's wife Heather Erskine, and their children, Augusta and Rhea, all of Louisville, KY; her sister Melanie Brown and Melanie's husband Mark, of Reynoldsburg, OH; her sister Joan Krohn of Manchester, NH; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

SERVICES: Calling hours will be held from 4:00-7:00 pm, on Thursday, February 20, at Phaneuf Funeral Homes and Crematorium, located at 243 Hanover St. Manchester. Funeral Service will be held at 11:00 am, on Friday, February 21, in the funeral home. Burial will take place immediately following at Pine Grove Cemetery in Manchester.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Families in Transition, 122 Market St., Manchester, NH 03101.


Condolence & Memory Journal


Greg & Kate,
Saddened to hear of your Mom's passing. Worked with her for many years in the Title 1, preschool and homeless programs. May your lifetime of wonderful memories bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart. Prayers for you and your families.

Posted by Jeannine Huot - FL   February 29, 2020

I knew Kathy first through the Cultural Diversity Task Force, one of many social justice and advocacy organizations that benefited from her insight, copious knowledge of Manchester, good humor, and dedication. Any meeting she attended was more civil because she embodied civility. Any potluck was better for her contribution. So many students had better school days because of her work. She lives on in her family and the good she did.

Posted by Dorothy G. Krasner - Manchester, NH - Acquaintance   February 27, 2020

Words to describe Kathy: kind, smart, funny and always positive. Although she was going through her own struggles with Dick's illness, she was there for my husband and me when he was diagnosed with cancer. Our conversations were informative, supportive, upbeat and positive. Kathy was a beautiful soul and I will always be indebted to her for helping me through a difficult time while struggling with her own.
Heartfelt condolences to the Blecatsis and Erskine families.

Posted by Janet Frail Roche - Hooksett, NH - Family Friend   February 18, 2020

Kathy was such a kind, loving person who always had a great smile. She made such a difference in so many people's lives with her passion for people and education. She will be missed but we will all have wonderful memories to cherish. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.

Posted by Ellie Cochran - Manchester, NH - Friend   February 18, 2020

So sorry to hear of Kathy's passing. I knew her for many years. Blessings to her family.
Jane Bright

Posted by Jane Bright - Manchester, NH - Friend   February 18, 2020

Kathy was our neighbor for the past 32 years. We love her so much and are sad she was sick these past couple years. She was the kindest person. She was the best listener and laugher. She was essential to some important parts of my life, especially helping me get a job that I have had for 20 years. We will miss her so much. We love her. The Foxes

Posted by Barbara Fox - Manchester, NH - Neighbor   February 17, 2020

Heaven has another angel who will continue watching over her family! Kathy was a kind, caring compassionate woman who will be missed by everyone she met. Our sincere sympathy to Melanie, Joanie, Kate and Greg; May her memory be eternal!

Posted by Ellen and Jack Healy - Venice, FL - Family Friend   February 17, 2020

I met Kathryn by sheer accident through our shared passion for needlework. She had a great sense of humor and a beautiful heart, could lift your spirits on a gloomy day. She will be very missed.

Posted by J Gagne - Acquaintance   February 17, 2020


I originally came to read her obit because I thought she was (and may have been, but it doesn't state) my gym teacher/basketball coach at St. Joseph's Jr. High in 88. I'm leaving a candle as a part of the FIT family (where you've asked donations to go to) and thank her for doing all she did for the homeless, especially the children. We need more angels on earth like her. I can tell she will be missed by so many, and obviously by FIT, a place I consider family. Rest in peace, Kathy

Posted by Heather Henriquez - Manchester, NH   February 17, 2020


Dear Greg Kate and Joanie, Know not where to begin....I loved her and Dick as well. Seven years ago my life sort of collapsed- a nasty divorce follow ed. I had 2 nervous breakdowns and became suicidal. I do not write in hyperbole here; Kathy saved my life- more than once. There was never a time when she cut me short on the phone- how very patient-how kind- how caring she was. So...when I learned of her death, I felt such awful pain in my heart and that pain is not likely to diminish for a long, long time. I cannot end this message in total sadness. I was blesseTd having Dick and Kathy in my life. So so many good times: Spofford, Langdon, Swanzey, Keene, Manchester, Wells, Rye, Tenants Harbor, Popham Beach et Al and no matter the place, we cherished our friendship - when we were with Dick and Kathy we were at home- we were with family. So fortunate, how blessed we were. Godspeed Kathy.

Posted by Tony Dubois - Swanzey, NH   February 17, 2020


I had the privilege of meeting Kathy when I was on a committee with her for Families In Transition. I was asked to be on the committee because I had experienced homelessness due to being in a domestic violence relationship and had graduated from FIT, so we would talk after our meetings and she always showed me so much empathy and compassion. She was an amazing woman. I am so sorry to her family for their loss.

Posted by Chrissy Simonds - Manchester, NH   February 17, 2020

Kathy was such a wonderful, warm and caring person. Her energy was always positive as was her love and activism for children's well-being. To Kate and Greg and to other family members, we send our deepest condolences on the passing of your mother. As others have mentioned, Kathy was an Angel on Earth, and we shall remember her fondly.

Posted by Will & Wendy Thomas - Auburn, NH - Friend   February 17, 2020

I first met Kathy when I taught at Wilson School. She was such a lovely lady, totally committed to the welfare of all our students. She made the world a better place for all of us. My deepest sympathy to the whole family.
Barbara Wesolowski

Posted by A friend   February 17, 2020

Our hearts go out to Kathy's family. We will always remember her kindness, her smile and her interest in people. May she rest in peace.

Posted by Bruce & Marilyn Soper - New London, NH   February 17, 2020

Kathy was truly a gift from God. She made such a wonderful impact on so many lives including my own. She touched so many lives with her kindness, generosity and humility. She will be missed!
Cathy LaFleur

Posted by Catherine LaFleur - Manchester, NH - Friend   February 16, 2020

Your mom (and dad) will live forever in my memory. Her generous spirit, incredible kindness and willingness to embrace everyone with love will always be with me. She was the best! My heart is heavy for all of you as you face this incredible loss. I wish you strength, courage and hope that your memories will sustain you.

Posted by Betsy Dubois - Keene, NH - Friend   February 16, 2020

Kathy was the first person i became friends with freshman year at Wellesley. We lived across the hall from each other and supported each other in many ways during that year. I have so many fond memories of times together including dinners at Athens Olympia in Boston, baklava from Manchester after her weekends at home, and a secret Santa turtle we named Milton. I got to see Kathy a few years ago when she drove to Portland, ME when I was visiting family there. May her memory be a blessing to all whose lives she touched.

Posted by Kathy Chaikin - San Francisco, CA   February 16, 2020


I have no doubt that Kathy was the kind of person who will be a significant loss to many people. Special thoughts go out to my friend Joannie, Kathy's sister, and the entire family.

Posted by Susan Sliwoski    February 16, 2020

Kate and Greg, our hearts are broken over the loss of your mom. We have many fond memories of her at church in R.E., Stitchers and Crafters and other activities. Blessed Be. Sherie Moore and Bob Hynes

Posted by Sherie and Bob Moore/Hynes - Goffstown, NH - Friend   February 16, 2020


I was saddened to learn of her death. She was such a giving, positive, and cheerful person and we'll remember her fondly.

Posted by Chris Monroe - Candia, NH - Friend   February 16, 2020

We are sad to hear of the loss of a kind and thoughtful person. It was always such a joy to see Kathy over the years in Vermont at our Fake Thanksgiving. Her special Greek Chicken was always a favorite.

Posted by Sandy & Dave Enman - Huntington, VT - Family   February 16, 2020

So many memories with Kathy & Dick over the past 60 years. So many laughs, good times and friendship. I will miss her dearly. She was an extraordinary woman in so many ways. My heart is broken.

Posted by robert schiavone - st augustine, FL   February 16, 2020

Kathy was a hero in my book. I recall her strutting into my office at Northwest School, always with her beautiful smile, ready and impatient to help, advise, and listen to the children and families she serviced. She emanated love and compassion. We have lost an angel, but we have her legacy as example of an exemplary, selfless, loving life.

Posted by Madeleine Sassman - South Portland, ME - Coworker   February 16, 2020

Family Album