“Suck it up, buttercup!”
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Our “Color of Joy,” Pauline Joy Easterling, 55, passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, August 1, 2020 after over six years of living life to the fullest with metastatic breast cancer. She was a wife who knew how to love, a mom who knew how to mom, a sister, a Grammy and a friend. Her passion and warmth filled the hearts of many, and her strength was a force to be reckoned with.
Pauline was born in Hancock, MI on November 20, 1964. A fisherman’s daughter from Big Traverse Bay, she attended Lake Linden-Hubbell High School where she was active in track and band. She’d often tell stories about marching in knee-deep snow during the 4th of July parade.
She was a married mother of two when she graduated from Michigan Tech University with a BSA in Business Administration. It was during this time that she lost her first husband, Wayne, to brain cancer.
On November 8, 1996, Pauline married Ross Easterling, her “knight in shining armor.” Her love for him knew no bounds; she shared his impact on her life with anyone who’d listen. On April 16, 1997 and August 17, 1999, respectively, she welcomed two sons.
Pauline was a devoted Christian and a lifelong member of the Laurium Shining Light Church, serving as the web designer there as well as for Zion Apostolic Lutheran Church, the Inter-Lutheran Theological Seminary, and The Master’s Mission, Inc.
Over the years, Pauline worked as the web designer for the Van Pelt & Opie Library at Michigan Tech, a chiropractic assistant for Family Chiropractic in Houghton, MI, and a florist at Calumet Floral in Calumet.
After her diagnosis with metastatic breast cancer in 2014, Pauline continued living her life. After losing her son Lucas to suicide in 2018, she persevered and stayed strong even when she wanted to crumble. She’d say, “this is what we do now. You just have to do the next right thing.” She carried her family through in the most difficult of times. Pauline saw all of her children’s graduations, two marriages, and the birth of her two grandchildren. She went on road trips, hiked trails and climbed mountains in the Pacific Northwest, and walked the beaches and floated on the waves of Hawaii. She filled her home with her own artwork and that of her friends and family, and had a scarf collection like no other.
Pauline brought joy to our world. She had an infectious smile, the strongest heart, and was always there, always. She enjoyed painting and crafting, gardening and photography, and even when she said she didn’t, cooking. She loved to teach, and truly believed everyone was an artist. If you entered her kitchen, you’d probably have a paintbrush in hand within minutes. She would often be caught dancing and making silly poses when no one was looking. If she saw a good thimbleberry bush, she’d slam on the brakes and grab a bucket.
She was such an inspiration, sharing her bright and colorful soul with everyone she knew.
She is survived by her husband, Ross Easterling of Copper City; her sister Jana Sunnarborg of Germany; her children, Kendra Joy (Tomas) Kotila of Copper City, Seth (Brenda) Harjala of Seattle, Washington, and Garett (Claire) Easterling of Oahu, Hawaii; her grandchildren, Milo Harjala and Danger Kotila; her mother, Joan (Arthur) Lasanen of Hancock; her mother-in-law M. Dawn Easterling (Doug Linn) of Pinckney, Michigan; and her niece and nephews, Mackenzie, Jantzen and Christian Sunnarborg of Germany.
She is preceded in death by her son Lucas Easterling, her father Arthur Lasanen, and her former husband Wayne Harjala.
Pauline and her foot-stomping, arm-waving happy dance will be dearly missed by her family and friends.
Pauline’s Celebration of Life will be held in the garden at Erickson Crowley Peterson Funeral Home on August 7th, 2020 at 1:00 PM with Pastor Jay Weidner to officiate. Friends may call at the Erickson Crowley Peterson Funeral Home on Friday, August 7th, 2020 from 12:00 PM until the time of the service.
Please wear your brightest and most colorful garb to celebrate Pauline’s vibrant spirit. Facial masks and hand sanitizer will be provided.
Burial will take place in the Lake View Cemetery in Calumet following the celebration of life.
In lieu of flowers, Pauline would appreciate contributions to METAvivor at www.metavivor.org as it uses 100% of donations to fund research for cures to metastatic cancer.
Online condolences for the family may be left at www.ericksoncrowleypeterson.com.
The Erickson Crowley Peterson Funeral Home in Calumet is assisting the family with the arrangements.