A fighter from the first day of her life, she never gave up throughout her life and fought through to the end as well. On the evening of January 4, 2019, Erika passed away in Big Sky, MT after a valiant effort against cancer. She was 77 years old.
The youngest of two, Erika was born in Germany in November 1941 to Kurt and Anni Wilinski. She spent her childhood as a refugee fleeing the war on foot with her mother and brother, looking for food, shelter, and safety, hoping to be reunited with her father. Reunited two years after the war, they attempted to live in war-torn Germany. With much of the landscape destroyed, her father reached out and applied for asylum in Canada and Australia. Canada answered yes first, and so the move to Hamilton, Canada occurred in 1952. Once there for a few years, another opportunity arose across the border in Detroit, Michigan. The family once again moved and began in earnest a new life.
Graduating from Centerline High in 1960, Erika helped break barriers as she pursued her Doctorate of Pharmacy at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where she graduated in 1965 as just one of a handful of women. Marrying her college beau, Robert Bruno Macklin, shortly after graduation, they got married in the Unitarian Church in Ann Arbor Michigan and promptly got into her newly purchased Chevrolet Malibu convertible and drove to California so that Robert could begin grad school at the University of California, Berkeley.
Erika gave birth to her first and only child, Karen Erika Macklin in September of 1972 in Oakland, California. Living and working as a Clinical Pharmacist for 25 years in California, Erika spent as much as her free time as possible outside hiking, biking, swimming, gardening and tending to her vast collection of violets, and then orchids. An avid backpacker and camper, she taught her daughter Karen to love the outdoors, and in 1994 Karen moved to Montana to get serious about the mountains.
After the passing of Erika’s father in 1997, Erika moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, in Hendersonville, to care for her mother. She continued her career as a clinical pharmacist in North Carolina, retiring in 2004. From there she could focus all of her attention on hiking, her photography, and was active in many clubs, including the UUFH and The Friendship Force, where she was able to travel all over the world.
For her last move, Erika moved to Big Sky, MT in 2016 to be closer to her daughter. and son in law. Her last couple of years were filled with daily hikes to Ousel Falls, concerts at the WMPAC, attending the UUFB, lap time with her cat, and of course her magic touch with orchids.
Erika is survived by her daughter Karen Macklin and her husband Don Mattusch.
A celebration of life will be planned for the spring of 2019. In Lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to The Big Sky Community Organization to keep the trails she adored in good standing. PO Box 161404, Big Sky, MT 59716.