Erika Anne Esquina, 20, passed away on October 11 after an automobile accident during the drive home to Pearland from Texas State University, where she was a student. Erika is survived by her parents, Pete and Bonnie Esquina; sister, Jenny Esquina and a host of other family and friends.
Erika began taking dance at Dancescape by Joyce when she was 3 years old, and discovered gymnastics some years later. She became a cheerleader at Pearland Junior High East and Dawson High School, and served as cheer captain every year until she graduated from Dawson in 2010. Dawson Principal David Moody remembers Erika as a model student who was very plugged into the school and who served as a vital part of its culture.
Erika lived with gusto and would always urge her dad, Pete, to drive faster while she was tubing behind the family boat on Lake Livingston. Older sister Jenny says Erika was always the brave one. Erika also loved to borrow Jenny’s clothes for dates, banquets and dances. ( Jenny was always grateful that at least they had different shoe sizes.) The sisters were always close and Jenny describes her little sister as beautiful inside and out, pure of heart, and just too good to be true.
She spent her first year of college at Stephen F. Austin University, where she was involved with Push America, an organization that works to benefit people with disabilities. She even served as Miss Push America 2010. She became close to her RA in the dorm that year, Stacy Cohen. They were soon inseparable and Stacy says she will cherish the James Avery ring Erika gave her recently for her birthday and that she knows Erika will always be with her.
Erika, who grew up in Pearland, was one of 50 girls recently chosen from 300 applicants to be a Diamond Sweetheart at Texas State, where she was a mass communications major. She was always a vibrant part of every school she attended and was known for her contagious smile and cheerful personality.
Erika’s mother, Bonnie, says Erika was both generous and creative and loved to make scrapbooks and gifts for friends and family. She also loved to come home from college unexpectedly to surprise her parents. Erika loved comedy and had a great sense of humor. She sometimes caused her sister to suffer asthma attacks from too much laughter. Erika’s distinct laugh was recognizable anywhere, according to her friend Emily Malloy, who says Erika was always her go-to source for encouragement, advice, laughter and sharing chocolate covered strawberries.
Michaela Estrada, a fellow cheerleader who is a year younger than Erika, considered her a role model. Their friendship motto, “through thick and thin,” was meant to carry their friendship into old age and retirement in their favorite place, Florida.
A visitation for Erika will take place on Monday, October 15, 2012 from 5:00 until 8:00 pm at Clayton Funeral Home, 5530 W. Broadway, Pearland, Texas 77581. The funeral service will take place on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 10:00 am at First Baptist Church, 3005 Pearland Parkway, Pearland, Texas 77581 with Pastor Sonny Foraker officiating. Interment will follow at SouthPark Cemetery in Pearland, Texas