Erin Lee Johnson Rustigian passed away on Sept. 7, 2021, at the family home in La Cañada Flintridge after a long battle with cancer.
Her Celebration of Life was held at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club on October 3, 2021, beginning with the scattering of her ashes at the Long Beach Congressional Cup race area accompanied by a flotilla of more than 15 boats to honor her. The Race Committee renamed the course marker “Erin” in her honor. She was a long-time race committee member for both LBYC and ABYC.
Friends and family gathered at the yacht club to share stories and celebrate together. Midafternoon, the Long Beach Yacht Club’s fleet of umpire boats passed by in the channel in single file with black flags attached to the stern of their boats.
The Lake Arrowhead Yacht Club presented an Honorary Burgee to the family with her name embroidered. Erin started sailing class at the Lake Arrowhead YC when she was 8 years old. She continued to sail with those sailors all her life.
Erin grew up in La Cañada Flintridge, attending Paradise Canyon, Foothill Intermediate School and La Cañada High School, class of 1991. Erin received her Girl Scout Gold Award with a group of young women who had been together in Scouting since first grade. At LCHS she had the privilege of being part of Madrigal Singers.
She graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a degree in photography. She continued to take photos of her life, family and friends … and of the boats out on the water. While at UCR she also worked at the Riverside School for the Deaf.
Professionally, Erin was a global marketing programs manager for an international software company. In that role, she traveled the world from Singapore to Paris to Las Vegas!
Erin and Matthew met at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club in November 2005 at the Turkey Day Regatta where Erin joined the Race Committee to watch the sailing and help out. After a few months it became apparent that each had found their person, marrying in 2009. They made their home in Long Beach, living in their 48’ power boat. The boat, Oli Kai, went to Catalina often, with their dog Sienna. Erin insisted on getting a puppy after Sienna’s passing in December. She is survived by Bonnie, the puppy. Matthew was Erin’s close supporter caring for her through the last difficult months with love, understanding and love.
In life, Erin was loving, spirited, funny, loyal, thoughtful and could get just about anything done. Her gifts to family and friends always showed how much she valued them in her life. Her laugh was infectious, she used it — and her smile — often.
She is survived by her husband, Matthew; mom, Laura Lee Johnson; brother, Jim Johnson and his wife Dina; niece, Haley Thompson and her husband Cody; niece, Hannah Johnson; Uncle, Kenneth Thompson; and cousins Kelly Gambill and Chris Thompson.