Please join us in a ceremony to honor and celebrate the life of Ricki Aileen Herrera on Saturday, January 9, 2015 at 2:00 PM
Buddhist Church of San Francisco
1881 Pine Street (@ Octavia)
San Francisco, CA 94109
Street parking is available but limited. Please plan accordingly. Parking is also available for a fee at the Japan Center Garage located at 1610 Geary Boulevard (entrances are on Post Street and Geary Street - between Buchanan and Webster Streets), which is about 5 blocks from the Buddhist Church.
Ricki was an active and generous member of her community. She was involved in several organizations in the Encinitas area including H20 Trash Patrol and Paint Encinitas. Please consider supporting one of these organizations in lieu of flowers.
Ricki Aileen Friedlander Herrera
Hebrew name: Rivka Elka after her paternal great-grandmother, Rebecca, and maternal great grandfather Alex Hill.
Ricki was born May 4, 1962 at Edgewater Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. She was the first-born child to her parents, Joyce Sabel and Larry Friedlander. She was the baby crying and waving her little fists while the other babies slept peacefully in the hospital nursery. When Ricki was 2 years old, her brother Steve was born.
When Ricki was 4 years old, her parents divorced and her mother remarried. Ricki lived with her mom, stepfather and brother. When Ricki was 8 years old, her sister Elizabeth was born. In 1972 the family moved from Chicago to Tucson, Arizona where Ricki attended elementary school, high school (Amphitheater H.S. and Tucson H.S) and received a Bachelor s degree at the University of Arizona. While attending the University of Arizona, as she would for the rest of her life, she formed close friendships that she cherished and maintained throughout her life. Shortly after graduating from U of A, she moved to California where she would spend most of her adult life.
In 1998 Ricki married Bruno DellErba. They lived in San Francisco and Rome, Italy. They were divorced four years later. In 2007, Ricki married Michael Herrera, the love of her life. They spent the first month of their marriage in Costa Rica where Ricki had amazing surfing experiences. Ricki and Mike lived in Southern California, moving around a bit, and finally returning to Leucadia, her happiest home.
Ricki was a world traveler. Happiest when planning an adventure, and traveling to New Orleans, San Francisco, and internationally. In addition to Arizona, California and Rome, Ricki lived for short periods of time in New York and Mexico. She loved to explore every city she lived in and visited, walking for hours, visiting farmers markets, finding little restaurants and shops where they made chocolate or some other specialty, and meeting people along the way. Ricki generously and enthusiastically shared her discoveries with family and friends and always cheered them on in their own adventures.
In addition to her love of travel, surfing and the ocean, Ricki loved dogs, her cats, was an avid bike rider and yoga practitioner, and had a passion for holistic health and nutrition.
In early 2015, Ricki went through Yoga Teacher Training at Soleil Yoga Studio, Encinitas, CA, graduating May 3, one day before her 53rd birthday. The Soleil Yoga training experience was an important part of both her ongoing interest in health and wellbeing and her lifelong journey to build community and friendship.
Ricki was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in July 2015. She fought every day during her final months to live. Even during her weakest moments she maintained a positive attitude and stayed connected and supportive of her friends and family. She faced cancer in the same way she lived her life: with bravery, humor, compassion, intelligence and a fighting spirit.
Here is a letter to Ricki, written by her younger brother, Steve:
To my sister Ricki:
I am sad beyond words at your passing. I know that you are in a better place than you were with the effects of cancer on your body at the end of your life. Still. We wanted to spend more time with you. On Earth. With you healthy.
You have always been a beautiful, loving, smart, strong, stubborn, compassionate, smiling, understanding, enlightening person to me and anyone who was lucky enough to have you in their lives. You told mom that your mantra to beat cancer was “Peace, love and boxing gloves,” and that was the way that you lived your life.
I have many memories of growing up with you that are part of who I am. Setting aside several hours on the weekend to listen to the top 40 with each other and write down the songs. You giving me rides in the morning to high school where we would share the radio and our thoughts. Being told to “go for it” when I wasn’t so sure. Seeing you adventure around the world, always gaining lifelong friends and family along the way, following your soul and dreams in everything you did. Smiling, loving and being supportive of others. A reminder to me that there is a lot more to life than being “on track.”
You are a beautiful Aunt to our children. Listening, smiling, optimistic and wise, not judging, being proud. You are also a beautiful wife to Michael, daughter to mom and dad, sister to Elizabeth and I, sister-in-law to Stacey and granddaughter. Like Papa, a person who shows it but does not announce or claim it. The people in your life know how deeply you connect and how unique you are in genuinely and completely giving yourself to others.
The ocean is vast and powerful and spiritual and beautiful and uplifting and full of life and without limits and non-judgmental. It makes sense that you are good friends. Surfing and yoga also transcend, like you.
You fooled us and your doctors too. Inside you were dying but outside you remained strong and optimistic and stubborn, right to the end. Our Ricki. Dying is hard to hide; the fear of dying even more. For those more enlightened, it is yet another chapter, to be entered with peace and grace. I have never in my life witnessed the strength displayed by you in responding to your diagnosis, which came from nowhere and will never make any sense.
I could not be prouder to be your brother and could not have asked for more in a sister. Wherever it is, I am sure that you are watching over us with loving wisdom. And that smile. Your time on Earth – which was way too short – informs, makes us that much more whole and loving, and will never be forgotten.
Your younger brother Steve