Obituary: Erica Lynne Chase-Salerno

Erica Chase-Salerno (photo by Melissa Surprise | Surprise Photography)

On February 7, 2019, Erica cast off the final line from her Viking ship and sailed away to her next celestial port. In the hold she carried with her all the love, experiences, gifts and everyday miracles you all have shared with her on her 49-year earthly journey.

An everyday miracle for Erica could be a toasted sesame bagel, a mint chocolate chip milkshake, an empanada, a trip to Waffle House or even some things that didn’t involve food: finding the earring she was sure was lost forever, reclaiming a friendship that she thought was gone, watching an Old Orchard Beach sunrise, walking in her beloved labyrinth.

Her voyage began in Norwich, New York in 1969, and took her from Schenectady to Allegheny College to SUNY-New Paltz, with stops in Canada, Holland, Germany, France, Haiti, Mozambique, Cambodia, Thailand, South Africa, the Dominican Republic and all over the United States.


She leaves behind on shore her family: daughter Quinn, whose insights into people are second to none; son Declan, whose natural athletic skills merge seamlessly with his gentle demeanor; husband Mike, whose brilliance, courage and strength have guided the family throughout their entire journey; Tofu the crested gecko, who can lick his own eyeballs; and Casey the dog, whose unique song stylings bring “music” to the house; Mary and Robert Chase of Schenectady; Olga and Sal Salerno of New Paltz; George, Vanessa and Kai Lian Chase of Houston, Texas; and many cherished relatives and friends.

Erica scooped ice cream, worked retail, waitressed, taught French and Spanish and even had a job at the United Nations before founding Wyld Acres, where she served as an intuitive. Throughout her travels she inhabited and served many communities, including Ulster County Home Educators, Maverick Concerts, the Forsyth Nature Center and a variety of youth and sports organizations. Co-founding the online community Hudson Valley Parents with her husband led to lifelong connections that Erica treasured, and to writing her weekly columns for Ulster Publishing: Kids’ Almanac and Erica’s Cancer Journey.

Erica loved this story from Maurice Sendak:

Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters – sometimes very hastily – but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.

That’s how Erica lived her life: she saw it, she loved it, she ate it.

Visitation and burial were held privately. A public Celebration of Life will be held at a time and place to be announced. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Erica’s loving memory to her children’s education fund by mailing checks made payable to Michael Chase-Salerno to PO Box 300, Modena, NY 12548. Write “education” in the memo. Online tributes and remembrances may be posted at

There are 5 comments

  1. Village Local

    Our deepest condolence to family, friends, and community.

    Her many beautiful writings will be cherished with the memory and spirit of New Paltz, as time progresses into the history of New Paltz .

  2. Tracy G

    An extraordinary spirit. Her zest for life was contagious and her positive energy ignited good things in others. She will be missed.

  3. Anneka

    To Chase-Salerno Family,
    I’m very sorry for your loss. I find comfort in this scripture and I hope it comforts you as well. 2 Corinthians 1 : 3,4 Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our trials so that we may be able to comfort others in any sort of trial with the comfort that we receive from God.

  4. Stacey Rein

    Erica Chase-Salerno was the bravest woman I never knew. Writer, healer, wife, mother, friend. I know this because I’m one of the thousands who have been privileged to discover her cancer journey in the folds of the Almanac. She astounded me with her humor and optimism, during what, for most of us (all of us?), would be a time to grieve.
    But this was not her path. No – her path was lit with an unceasing inspiration. It is a path that broke every expectation of what it means to have a terminal illness.
    Sharing her extraordinary wisdom and insight with complete strangers has been life changing; I suspect not just for me, but for everyone she connected with – making all of us a little less scared of what could be. Head on, and heart strong – her gift will live on.

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