Kitty J. Eriksen

Published 9:15 am Thursday, July 21, 2022

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Tryon– Kitty Jeanne Eriksen (nee Rohman) passed away peacefully in her sleep on July 1, 2022, at the age of 95 of natural causes. She was born in 1927 in Dallas, TX to Walterene and James Rohman. Throughout her childhood, the family lived in several states, eventually settling in Arlington, Virginia. As a young woman, Kitty attended George Washington University in DC where she studied art and psychology. While in school, she met a handsome midshipman, George A. Eriksen on a blind date at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. They were married in July 1944.

As a Navy wife, Kitty graciously re-located the household every couple of years when George was given new tours of duty. Kitty and George had 3 children: Diane (Dee), Christopher, and Nancy. George was assigned to the Defense Department during the Vietnam war and at that time the family settled in McLean, VA. Kitty found fulfilling work as a Counselor in an adolescent safe house. Outside of work, she loved to host gatherings for friends and family. The family often vacationed at the beach, a tradition that continued after they moved to North Carolina.

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Upon retirement, Kitty and George moved to Tryon and built their dream home, a passive solar deck house, on Howard Gap Road. Both were active in the community. At the Tryon Little Theater, George built sets and Kitty painted them. Kitty took painting classes, played bridge, and did volunteer work, George headed up Habitat for Humanity projects. As members of the Congregational Church, they served as deacons and on the board. They contributed to the community by helping fund several local businesses, including the Ace Hardware store and Mimosa Carpets. They also loved to travel, spending time in England on a houseboat, Kitty took her daughters to Europe, and her last big trip was to Panama with her son, daughter, and her best friend from college.

Kitty was full of life, love, and good humor. A voracious reader, she studied a variety of subjects that interested her such as ancient Egypt, early Christianity, and eastern wisdom traditions such as Taoism, Buddhism, Yoga, and the work of G. I. Gurdjieff. As adults, her children enjoyed having fascinating discussions with her about the nature of reality, enlightenment, psychology, world politics, archeology, and more. She loved the NY Times crossword puzzles and reading murder mysteries, histories of the British royals, and science fiction. After George passed away in 2000, Kitty moved into Tryon Estates, embracing the social life and running a duplicate bridge group. Even when her dementia left her unable to read, she still could best most at double solitaire.

Kitty is preceded in death by her husband, George Eriksen, and her daughter, Nancy Eriksen. She is survived by her daughter, Dee Relyea, son, Chris Eriksen, and grandchildren Nicole Saunders, Jonathan Relyea, and Erik and A.J. Charping.

The family wishes to thank the nursing and activities staff on Willowbrooke Court for their kind and patient care of Kitty. Kitty will rest in the Memorial Garden of the Congregational Church of Tryon alongside her mother, husband, and daughter.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 1 pm on Saturday, July 30, 2022, at Tryon Estates, 617 Laurel Lake Dr., Columbus, in the Chapel.

The Covid protocol at Tryon Estates Requires non-vaccinated guests attending the memorial service must have a negative COVID test the day of the service. Masks are strongly encouraged for all attendees regardless of vaccination status. A reception will be held at The Depot in downtown Tryon immediately following the service.

Due to the presence of several high-risk individuals, guests at the reception are required to wear a mask.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Kitty’s name to one of her favorite charities: The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation or the Foothills Humane Society

An online guest register is available at

McFarland Funeral Chapel
Tryon, NC