Erika Lynn Wirtanen Pokorski, 54, of Yorkville, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on Saturday early morning October 28, 2023. Erika was the beloved daughter of June C. Wirtanen and the late Philip L. Wirtanen. She was born in River Falls, Wisconsin, on December 6th, 1968. As her family moved frequently, Erika attended several schools in Michigan, Wisconsin, Texas, and Illinois. She graduated from Naperville North high school in 1987.
Erika received a Speech and Communications degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1992. She began her long insurance career as an account manager with Aetna, a Regional Sales Executive with Humana, a Senior Account Manager with MetLife, a Senior Implementation Manager with United Healthcare and just recently a Senior Benefits Consultant with Surest. She enjoyed her work, but especially the long lasting deep friendships she made with her coworkers over the years.
Lake Gogebic in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula held a special place in her heart. She spent summers and holidays in the UP enjoying visits with extended family, any activity related to the water, and the majestic beauty of the North Woods. Erika spent many happy hours doing her favorite things: taking hot saunas, sitting by a cozy fire, and playing cribbage on the patio. Family and friends were also very important to Erika. She always had an open door, an open heart and a warm smile for everyone.
Faith and service to her community were also important to Erika. She served as an assistant minister at Immanuel Lutheran church in Yorkville, IL and was a volunteer at Hesed House. She was also cherished in her neighborhood. Whether she was being the surprise reader at her young neighbor’s elementary school or just listening to the problems of the neighboring children who would visit to specifically talk to her, she had a huge heart and happily gave selflessly. She was a creative and talented person who expressed herself through her whimsical drawings, piano playing, artistic photography, beautiful singing and expressive prose.
She is survived by her loving husband of 13 years, Bradford Sullivan (Pokorski); two devoted daughters Siiri Catherine (Strebel) and Beatrice Caroline (Strebel); Her mother June Caroline (Wirtanen); one sister Wendy Lynn Evans (Timothy), nephew Alexander and niece Emily Evans; as well as her Uncle Christian K. Wirtanen (Betty Lou) and Aunt Sandra (Bernard) Mitchell, and cousins Mike, Melissa, Aliisa, Christopher, Ross, Nick and Andrew. She is preceded in death by her father and brother Philip Laurie and Grant Phllip Wirtanen, and Uncle Ralph Richard Wirtanen.
In accordance with Erika’s wishes, cremation will take place. A memorial service at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Yorkville, IL will be held on December 9, 2023 with visitation at 9:00 am followed by the memorial at 11:00 am with a lunch afterward. A separate Celebration of Life Service will be held at Lake Gogebic in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan at a yet to be determined date.
Erika’s larger than life personality and generous spirit will be greatly missed by all that knew and loved her. Her quick wit, intellect, support, vivacious personality and unwavering love will serve as an inspiration to her family and friends for many years to come. Our faith is certain that she is now with her beloved father and brother telling us what to do from afar.Print Obituary & Condolences