Erin Kimminau
SPU senior, Erin Kimminau. Photo courtesy of the Kimminau Family.

Erin Kimminau’s ashes have traveled far and wide: on a trail she walked in Tucson, Arizona; into a new geocache created in her honor; and around Seattle where she attended Seattle Pacific University. More of her ashes will travel to her favorite place, Iceland, and more still on a family cruise to Alaska planned for June.

At the age of 21, a senior and a linguistics major, Erin died on November 6, 2016, in a single car rollover accident on the way home from the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota. She had gone there with friends in a show of solidarity against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Issues of justice for all people motivated Erin to live life to the full for others. She and her friends founded the SPU Justice Coalition to help advocate for their deeply held causes, and she was active in the International Justice Mission. Erin’s passion for others also found outlet in her work as a student ministry coordinator, a Writing Center tutor, an SPU tour guide, a women’s shelter worker, an advocate for those with disabilities, and a host of other involvements. In her first year, she was voted one of two freshman students designated People of Promise for her commitment to the SPU vision.

So widely did Erin touch the lives of others that the regular SPU chapel hour following her death was devoted to honoring her life.

“To be loved by Erin is to be cooked for,” wrote a friend. “To be loved by Erin is to be welcomed into any space she is in … To be loved by Erin is to be reminded to rest and take Sabbaths … ”

“We have so many stories of Erin adopting people as her deep friends,” writes her father, Jon Kimminau. “She did not make a bunch of acquaintances.”

By Clint Kelly