Obituary: Erica Jean Lavery (1978-2023)

Erica Jean Lavery, with silent lifting mind and easy grace, passed through the sanctity of space, to escape the surly bonds of the universe. Resting peacefully at home, greeted by the warm smiles of family from far afield, her tender 45 years ended, just before midnight on the beautiful crisp autumn day of September 28th, 2023. Erica’s love of animals, mysteries, literature, theatre, and science never abated through all of her journeys with her loving husband, David Lavery, who survived her. Her continued devotion to her son Sean of 14 years and daughter Elizabeth of 18 years were undiminished by the stain of her struggles.

Erica was born into this tempestuous world, during the famous Blizzard of ’78 on February 6th in the Capital District of New York State. Though the hour was not merry, it was yet enough to make a star dance and shine in her eyes. Her formative years were spent in Scotia, New York, the eldest of two daughters to Joseph and RoyAnn Rogerson (nee Thomas). There she attended Burnt Hills Ballston Lake schools and attended Scotia United Methodist Church, where she met her husband. Finding themselves in colleges on different sides of the country, it was one early May Day when they both returned to the church before finals. Perhaps the coffee had been made in some way unusual, or the punch bowl made proper use of for once, as the two were smitten from that day forward. Erica transferred first to Schenectady County Community College, where she studied science and theatre performance, playing Galileo’s daughter in a production of Brecht’s Life of Galileo. With her associates in hand, she transferred to Russell Sage College in Troy, NY to be near her fiancé studying at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. After graduating with her Bachelor’s degree in Biology, they moved to Newport, Rhode Island where her husband would work for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. Erica worked part-time as she bore and raised their children at home, both in Newport and for a few years in Williamsburg, Virginia. In Newport, she put her love of 17th-19th century European and American history to use as a guide with the Preservation Society of Newport County. She loved the time spent learning further, sharing that information with guests of the “Gilded age” mansions in Newport, and with the people who make that organization a jewel among the many in the famous City by the Sea.

Family time was where Erica found meaning and value with her life. Erica delighted in making various dishes from the culinary traditions of Europe and early America. They made all of our lives rich with the mélange of herbs that she grew herself and the spices that she carefully employed.

The swift-paced days of life were carried by the family’s events with school clubs or local societies, and we had no idea how much to cherish them. A full and busy life is often a sweet life, and brittle are its thin layers, like the Viennioserie that she often savored.

Fortunately, Erica’s younger sister Janette followed east with her husband Jonathan Pfisterer to stay and were blessed with their 2 year old daughter Ava. In their youth, Erica was frustrated by her own unwitting concessions to sleep borne requests for borrowed clothing by Janette. In recent years Janette repaid her sister with happy hours of videos of little Ava dancing and singing. Erica’s love of Zoos, veterinarian science, and rescue animals led her in her last several years to foster or adopt dogs from Save One Soul Pet Rescue in Warwick and the Potter League for Animals in Newport. On valentine’s day in 2022, she rescued her last dog, Bluebelle, who simply adored her at her side until the end.

Calling hours will be at Connors Funeral Home in Portsmouth, RI on Tuesday, October 3rd, from 4 o’clock PM to 6 o’clock PM. A funeral service will be held on Wednesday the 4th, at 10:00am in the Connors Funeral Home, with a brief family interment ceremony to follow at St. Columba Cemetery in Middletown.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Potter League for Animals or Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.




Like Newport Buzz? We depend on the generosity of readers like you who support us, to help with our mission to keep you informed and entertained with local, independent news and content. We truly appreciate your trust and support!