Switters’ Blog

A Final Word

Posted by switters on September 7, 2007

A little over a year ago, my friend Nancy, one of my favorite people in the world, died of cancer at age 42. Besides their untimely deaths, she and Erin Duffy had a few things in common. Most notably, both were incredibly vivacious people whose passing inspired an impressive outpouring of emotional responses.
After reading the very moving tributes that people wrote about Erin here and on the Newsday/Legacy.com Guest Book, I wanted to re-read some of the things that friends and family had written about Nancy. I was very disappointed to find that those pages are deleted after a year.

It seems unthinkable that all those beautiful words – with all their emotion, poetry, and power, would be so carelessly deleted just like that. But so it goes. I wish I had thought of saving those tributes a year ago, but there’s nothing I can do about it now.

With this in mind, as the final post on this blog, I have copied all the responses that people posted on the other page and posted them here. (I’m not sure if this is really allowed – if someone let’s me know that it isn’t I’ll take them down). This way, as long as WordPress exists, these words can stay here for well beyond a year to provide a touchstone for people who want to remember Erin as she existed in the hearts and minds of those who knew and loved her.

September 20, 2007
To Erin,

I am so lucky to have known you, and only wish I could have seen you more often. I am not surprised to hear how other people responded to you as well, how many lives you have inspired or changed.
My heart is hurting for your family, it feels so hard to go on in a world without you physically here. There is no question your spirit is everywhere, and you will live every day in the hearts and minds of everyone who loves you. Please help with how to get through this grief.
Christine, Kevin, Bill, Maureen, and Billy,
I am praying for you everyday, for the strength to survive the pain. It must be excruciating. I know Erin would not want any one to suffer so, I hope you can feel her spirit within you to bring you the courage and inspiration to live as she did: with joy, love, kindness, generousity,and enthusiasm…. what a beautiful life. What a gift, to have such a daughter, sister, and wife. And how lucky for Erin to have such loving parents, the greatest sister anyone could ask for, and such an adoring husband? Such amazing friends and family. This is truly devastating. Hopefully the pain will subside enough to continue celebrating Erin and her mission to lead a meaningful and precious life.

Karen (San Diego, CA)
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September 16, 2007
Bless Erin’s loving family and friends. No doubt she was a special person. An inspiration- as she dealt with CF with dignity, enormous amounts of bravery and boundless energy. This Earth will miss her charisma and laughter. May you rest in peace beautiful girl. You are NEVER to be forgotten.
A Friend (Sayville, NY)

September 15, 2007
We didn’t know Erin very well but we are very close to our sister-in-law Christine. Christine was always a constant source of support for her sister Erin. We remember her spending time with Erin whenever she could and taking the time to participate in Cystic Fibrosis Walkathons because she knew how important the cause was…Christine never complained about the disease that Erin had and always seemed as if everything was okay. We know through Eugene that it was always on her mind. She is a great mother to our nephews who we love very much – Eugene Jr. and Sean. Christine along with Eugene will raise the boys to know what a brave and great person their Aunt Erin was. We will always be there for them bonded as family to show them love because at the end of the day that is really all that any of us have. Christine – we love you and we will always be there for you whether silently, to talk, to hang out at the beach, to celebrate a holiday or to play with the boys.
Love Peter & Barbara Tartaglia
Peter Tartaglia (Scarsdale)

  September 13, 2007
Some knew her as Erin, Mrs. Duffy or Miss Halliday,
And she touched our lives in a very special way.
Her smile lit up the room like a morning full of sun,
Her laughter was contagious, caught by everyone.
This earth will hold some angels, but sometimes they depart,
Heaven must have needed one more, so lets keep Erin in our heart.I wish to send our sympathies to The Halliday and Duffy families. Erin was truly a joy to be around. I loved being in her class when my daughter Madison had her for Kindergarten…Maddie would always come home showing me the newest yoga pose!!She was always a positive person, with a great love of life. May God Bless You All, and may the tender words of others help you heal.
  Christine Tyson (Sayville, NY)
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  September 12, 2007
Miss Erin, When you were a little girl, not more than 4 years old, we took a walk to the beach and you told me you would be living in a palace when you grew up. The day you died, those words came flooding back into my memory. I know you are there in that palace now. Please save a nice room for me when the time is right; I would love to hear your laughter throughout eternity! I have been calling you “Miss Erin” for as long as I can remember, so I must have known that you would teach your old Aunt some of life’s greatest lessons. All my nieces and nephews have brought so much delight into my life. Just hearing what you have all been up to has lightened my days throughout the years. Erin, it is hard to remember joy when we are all in so much pain. Please let us remember the lesson you taught so well; what it means to have a joyful spirit.
  Ann Halliday – Mahaney (Bradenton, FL)
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  September 11, 2007
Dear Erin,
Words can not express that sadness that our family feels. I will never forget that first day of kindergarten when Amanda joined your class. You opened your classroom doors to both of us and welcomed her in with open arms.. it was that moment that you walked into our hearts forever.Your engaging beautiful smile and kind words made us feel so special. From then on you were the talk of the dinner table. Each one of us got to know you through Amanda. She has been so sad since she heard the news but she wants you to know that she will always remember you. You touched her so deeply. To have you again in third grade last year was twice our luck. You were an amazing person with a true gift. You shared that gift so willingly and with no expectations . To know you was to love you, but to be able to have been touched by you was to be blessed. Your short life was so amazing. We have all learned strength and kindness from you. May you rest in peace as you are truly an angel above. I will miss you forever!
Pam MinutelloDear Mr. and Mrs. Halliday, Thank you for bringing this beautiful person into the world and our lives. Thank you for sharing her gift with everyone. We are truly so sorry for your loss.
The Minutello Family

Dear Kevin,
We are truly so sorry for your loss and the sadness you have to endure. Thank you for sharing Erin with us all. We promise to keep her memory alive.
The Minutello’s

  Pamela Minutello (Sayville, NY)
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  September 10, 2007
My Dear Little Cousin Kevin,I can only imagine your pain, I hurt for you. Please know that we are here and only a call away. You have lost so much in you life…but gained so much in loving Erin. She was an angel and an inspiration. Hold on to that! Love You! “Jo”
  Joanne Libraro (Valley Stream)

  September 9, 2007
I had the pleasure of meeting Erin, and of being her brother’s friend. I know from the intensity of Bill’s love for her what a dear person Erin has always been and how deeply she is missed.
  Matt Varilek (Sioux Falls, SD)
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  September 9, 2007
I was truly shocked to hear of Erin’s passing. I had the pleasure and privilege of knowing Erin for a few short months before she passed. She was my yoga instructor and I will never forget her contagious smile, her generous heart and her boundless energy, not to mention her words of encouragement that filled me with inspiration.My deepest sympathies go out to her husband Kevin and her wonderful family. May God Bless you all and may the wonderful memories of Erin keep your heart full of love.
  Mary McCarthy (Holbrook, NY)
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  September 9, 2007
Words cannot express the deep saddness we feel for the Duffy and Halliday families. Erin was my daughter Kayleigh’s kindergarten teacher,01-02 at the very start of her career at Lincoln Ave. I remember coming home from the kindergarten orientation and telling my husband that Kayleigh’s teacher was so young that I almost fell off my chair. I wanted to give her a chance because being young could be an advantage. And let me tell you it was, she was fresh, vibrant, exciting, very genuine and loving. She absolutely amazed my husband and I at how well she ran her class room. Kayleigh was challenging for her at times and we spent a few hours with her conferencing. She always gave us great advice and shared her own personal stories with us. She helped me grow as a person. I’m grateful to have gotten the opportunity to work with her for a short while. I can still and always will hear her laughing. She had a contagious, wonderful laugh. Her smile would light up a room. Kevin,as I have told you Kayleigh will continue Erin’s legacy and will run the Cystic Fibrosis summer run in her honor. We look foward to seeing you there. In the mean time you will be in our thoughts and prayers. I hope that your memories, and the love you know she felt for you will help get you through this difficult time. Mr and Mrs Halliday and Family will also remain in our thoughts and prayers. You raised a daughter who was as beautiful on the outside as she was on the inside. Her memory will live on in all our hearts forever. She was much to special to ever be forgotten. Thank you for sharing her with all of us. I’am honored to have gotten the chance to know her and she will remain in my heart forever. God Bless you. Everytime we see sunflowers we will think of Erin and smile.
  Barbara Mullaney (Sayville, NY)
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Dear Kevin and Erin’s family and friends:I am truly sorry for your loss and will keep you in my prayers. I wish you all much healing and sharing of happy memories of Erin. I did not know her, but I heard a lot of wonderful things about her.Sincerely,
Melissa Minicozzi
former schoolmate of Kevin
  Melissa Minicozzi (East Providence, RI)
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  September 8, 2007
To Erin,i have never felt so sad, but feel comfort knowing that clearly you are still with us in a way no one can deny. so many people who have been blessed to get to know and love you, you will live forever in the hearts and minds of everyone who was lucky enough to spend time with you. love is the most powerful force in the universe, and you have created enough for thousands of people. What an incredible gift to the world. If life was measured by love instead of years, erin lived a long and precious life. Once our hearts begin to mend, may we carry the joy erin bestowed every day in our short time here on earth. Until we meet again…
  a friend

  September 8, 2007
Jarrett and Justin Butler want to say how much they miss seeing Mrs. Duffy at school and I know they were fortunate to have her as their first teacher. We will never forget her contributions to our sons growth.
“To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.” ~ Thomas Campbell
  Tim & Leslie Butler (Sayville, NY)

  September 7, 2007
Dear Erin-
I only remember you as a giggly, adorable and beautiful little girl but I will never forget you. Your sister loves you so so much and my prayers are with her and the rest of your amazing family. You touched all of us deeply. God Bless and watch over your Mom + Dad.
  Therese Lynch (Glyndon, MD)
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  September 7, 2007
I visited Miss Hallidays class when my granddaughter morgan was her student. She invited me to sit on a small chair and join in with the children instead of waiting outside. I was delighted to do so, and was amazed at her rapport with the students, who clearly loved her. Sweet Miss “Halliday” I will never forget you….and Morgan has your picture near her bedside. —-Rest in peace, and you will be forever remembered.
  Eileen Stevens (Sayville)
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  September 7, 2007
I stopped by a roadside stand to buy sunflowers to share with Erin during her last moments with us. I knew how she loved these flowers and how she had a bouquet of them on her wedding day. I was sure that my small bunch of flowers would stand out against all the typical arrangements usually found at funerals and make Erin smile from above. I underestimated Erin’s friends and relatives though, and found so many sunflowers already there for Erin. They were beautiful.
As I stood there that last day half crying and half smiling looking at all of the wonderful photos of Erin and her friends, I thought how much Erin was like a sunflower. Bright and happy and always following the sun. Who could pass a sunflower and not be happy?
Today I stopped by the roadside stand again and found the remaining flowers wilted and sad, just like me. Although I wanted a fresh reminder of Erin to place in my home I decided to wait until the next growing season and buy my flowers when they are vibrant and strong, because that is the way I will always remember Erin.
Bill and Maureen your garden has produced three beautiful flowers. You were blessed to be able to claim Erin as your daughter and although your hearts are overwhelmed with grief I hope you can be comforted by all the love that surrounds your family and friends.
Kevin, people might say you were unlucky to be married such a short while but I would say the opposite is true. Two people so much in love with each other as you and Erin and sharing your love with friends and family is better than hitting the lottery. In fact, it is winning the lottery. Erin will always love you. We will too. You are part of our family.
Christine and Billy, you were the best sister and brother. How many siblings don’t even speak with one another? You guys are tight! There must have been tons of love between you three because you still took those corny sibling photos at Christmas time. That only happens if there is a strong love between brothers and sisters or if they have a mom that went through Catholic school and threatened to beat you if you didn’t take the picture. I know your mom never threatened you.
Dara, I thank you for your support and being there for Billy. You were also a great help to Erin’s grandmother. Tell your beautiful boy about his beautiful aunt Erin.
Gene, take care of Christine. And thank you for singing to Erin while she lay in the hospital. You’ve got a big heart. You’ve got big kids too. Penn State football?
I would hope that anyone who has photos of Erin can find the time to post one or two nice ones on this site.
To Erin, I promise to buy sunflowers and think of you always!
Buhbye.Love Dave
  Dave Halliday (Point Pleasant Bch., NJ)
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  September 7, 2007
Our deepest sympathy to all of Erin’s family ~ I cannot tell you how deeply saddened we were to learn of Erin’s death. Sending Morgan, the last of my four children, into Lincoln Avenue “Miss Halliday” was her kindergarten teacher. It was Erin’s first year and we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect teacher. Erin was like a ray of sunshine. She greeted the kids every day with such enthusiasm and a beautiful, contagious smile. I had no doubt my daughter was in the most wonderful,loving,caring hands. Morgan came home every day anticipating the next… “Miss Halliday” left a very special place in our hearts ~ We will never forget her or her beautiful smile..
  Suzanne, Chuck, Madison, Mackenzie and Morgan Cannini (Sayville, NY)
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September 6, 2007
Erin you will be greatly missed. My deepest sympathy goes out to your family. You have touched the lives of many and will always be remembered.
   

  September 6, 2007
I remember Erin from high school – what a sweetheart with a great sense of humor. Words can not express my sadness for her family and close friends. Our loss is Heaven’s gain.
  Jenny (Sayville, NY)
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  September 6, 2007
To Erin’s husband,family, co-workers and friends,
I am deeply saddened over your loss. Erin was my son Liam’s Kindergarten teacher in 04-05. She was and probably always will be his favorite. It is obvious to all what a special person she was.May the love and support of your family and friends and faith in everlasting life help ease your sorrow during this time.
  Cathy Kilkenny (Clayton, NC)
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  September 6, 2007
I married Erin Halliday’s sister Christine 5 years ago but dated Christine since our college days at Fordham 17 years ago. My wife loved her little sister more than anyone in the world. She worried so much about Erin’s illness that on many occasions I would see a tear roll down her cheek when we were studying, or riding a train and I would ask her what was wrong. Christine would simply respond that she was worried about her little sister. We were all worried, but somehow Erin would make all our worst fears disappear with that beautiful smile. We could not get enough of her, and could not imagine life without her. Now our worst fears have become a reality and the little tear rolling down my wife’s cheek 17 years ago has turned into an endless stream. Once the tears have stopped however, we laugh at all the funny things she did, her zest for life and her love for all of us. She never wanted anyone to feel sorry for her, and she never once complained about her illness. I remember not too long ago Erin stayed with Christine and I at our place in Bronxville,N.Y. She fell asleep in our son Gene’s room and I went to close the door so she would not hear the T.V. Erin asked me to leave the door open, she wanted to see the light from the hallway. It gave her comfort, she didn’t want the lights to go off. I told her not to worry I would leave the door open so she could see the light. I left the door open but went back to the couch and a tear ran done my cheek just like the one I saw on my wife Christine’s cheek 17 years ago. Erin did not want the light to go away, she loved life and her friends and family too much to let go. Don’t worry Erin your beautiful light will shine bright and we will never forget that perfect smile or contagious laugh you blessed us with for all those wonderful years. I only wish we had many more! Both of my children Gene 3 1/2 and Sean 3 mos will know how beautiful their Auntie Erin was. We love you and miss you so much’ Christine,Gene,Gene III, Sean Patrick
  Eugene Rooney (Bronxville, NY)
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  September 6, 2007
It is no coincidence that the first day of school this morning was a gloomy one. The loss of Mrs. Duffy was heavily felt as children quietly filed into Lincoln Avenue. Parents still in disbelief over the loss of a much-loved teacher. Staff and faculty trying to be cheerful for the children still could not hide their pain and loss. The flag somberly flying at half mast. And inside the school, a classroom that once belonged to a beloved teacher, will be passed many times today by children and co-workers looking in–wishing it was’nt true… What a privilege it was that our town and our little elementary school was the place where Erin Halliday Duffy gave us the gift of her life. Thank you Duffy and Halliday family for encouraging her to pursue her dreams. May it be consoling to know there are over 600 families from Lincoln Avenue alone who mourn with you. May God bless you as you endure the pain of your loss.
  A Lincoln Ave. parent (Sayville, NY)

  September 6, 2007
Words cannot describe the sadness our family has experienced since Erin’s passing. Our daughter was blessed to have Erin as her Kindergarten teacher at Lincoln Avenue. Erin was a wonderful, nurturing teacher to both her students and their parents alike, always smiling and laughing despite the challenges of her illness. We are all the more richer for having known her as she truly was a beautiful person, through and through. Although we did not know of her illness until recently, our admiration, love and adoration is only greater for her, knowing the challenges she faced while managing to be such a positive energy to all those around her. Erin’s kind heart and warm spirit touched the lives of many in the short time she was with us. She will be missed dearly by many. We like to thank her family for sharing their shining light with us, for she has touched our hearts in so many, many ways and we will never, ever forget her. She was truly an angel on earth. May God keep her in his hands and may she rest in eternal peace.
  Mark, Kim, Brian, Katelyn & Matthew Wallace (Sayville, NY)

  September 6, 2007
God has chosen Erin as His angel. We can all attest that she received an A+ in her course “Life ” and has accelerated to Heaven. Now, let us, her students, learn from our teacher. We need to take her smile, laugh and positive attitude and pass it on to the next person we meet. Let’s share her spirit and memories; so we too can make this world a better place.Without Maureen, Bill, Christine, Billy and Kevin this angel would not have been known by all. Thank you for sharing God’s creation with us all. Let us continue to pray to Erin to help us to accomplish “God’s Homework”.Love and God’s Peace, The O’Shea’s
  Eileen O’Shea (Gardner, MA)
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  September 6, 2007
Our Deepest Sympathy to the Halliday family, So sorry for your loss.I always think of Erin when I see a Daffidol, remembering back when Erin herself went to Lincoln Ave School and you sold Daffidols to raise money to find a cure for her Cytris Fibrosis.She was a beautiful Girl and may she rest in Peace.
  Kathy and Mike Kelley (Sayville, NY)

  September 5, 2007
Dear Mr.and Mrs. Halliday,
I had the pleasure of working with Erin for a short time at BOCES-Masera LC. I can still see her beautiful smile and hear her wonderful laugh, it was infectious. You couldn’t be around Erin without smiling. Even though Erin was young enough to be my daughter she had the unique gift of crossing all age barriers. I don’t believe there was a person she met who didn’t love her instantaneously. I did not know she was ill,she wouldn’t have wanted you to feel sorry for her, that was the kind of person she was. I am so glad she finished school and became a teacher. What a wonderful gift she must have been for all the children’s lives she touched even in such a short time. You and her husband Kevin will remain in my thoughts and prayers. I am so sorry.
  Therese Brady (Islip Terrace, NY)
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  September 5, 2007
Erin will always be an inspiration to all that knew her and to all who spread her stories. She lit up a room as soon as she entered and I feel blessed to have known her.
Rest in peace.Deepest symapthies to Erin’s family, husband and friends.
  A Friend
September 5, 2007
Time can only ease the pain of Such a Great loss, but Time can never take away all of our Wonderful Memories that we all have shared with Such a Brave and Magnificent Person.
I feel Sorry for those who did not have a chance to meet Erin, they were cheated of something that would have changed there Lives forever.
Every Time I think back to a memory with Erin I laugh and Smile, It was so natural to do around her. I feel honored to be able to call you my friend. You will always be in my heart Erin. I will never forget that unmistakable Laugh!My Deepest Sympathy to Her Husband Kevin, May time heal your sadnessTo Erin’s Parents & family I want to Thank you for Sharing Her with the world as we all will never be the same again…..An Old Friend Heather (felice)
  Heather Felice (Lake Grove (sayville), NY)
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  September 5, 2007
Dear Mrs. Duffy,
We will miss you and you will always be in our memories. You were my favorite teacher and I got to have you twice! I will always miss your smile that made me happy all the time. I’ll miss sharing my pretzel sticks with you at snack! I hope you have a lot of fun teaching the kids in heaven!
Love Michael Russo – age 9
  Michael Russo (Saville, NY)

  September 4, 2007
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Halliday, Chris and Billy..The forever smile on Erin and her infectious love of life are the memories I hold most dear. I pray for all of you daily that your own memories are only good ones.
  Regina Abell (Gabrielle’s mom) (Brooklyn, NY)
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  September 4, 2007
Dear Kevin and the Halliday family,Words cannot express how sorry I am of your loss. I can tell from all the many stories I have heard about Erin, that she was a magnificent person. She truly was a teacher in both life, and in death, for she taught me the biggest lesson of all – the value of life. May God rest her soul, and heal your wounds in time. God Bless.
  John McGuinness (Holbrook, NY)
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  September 4, 2007
Dear Mrs. Duffy,
You were the first teacher I had. You are such a amazing woman. I remember when you use to keep track of how many teeth we all lost.I miss you SO much. Lincoln Avenue misses you too. Who ever got to be friends with you are SO lucky. 8/31/07 is the saddest day ever.You are terribly missed. I love you with all my heart.You will be missed but NEVER forgotten!
  Sabrina Bencivenga (sayville, NY)

  September 4, 2007
Dear Mrs. Duffy,
How lucky for my children to have had you for their teacher (my son twice!). So many important lessons that you have taught them – they still talk about. Lincoln Avenue is so lucky to have had you, if only for a short time. Your unbelievable devotion to your children showed everyday. You will be missed forever but never forgotten.
  Debbie Bencivenga (Sayville, NY)

  September 4, 2007
Dear Kevin and Halliday family,
Teachers who touch our lives will last in our memories forever. Mrs. Duffy was that teacher. We are so thankful that our daughter Kaitlin had the amazing opportunity to have Mrs. Duffy for kindergarten in 2005-2006. My daughter grew so much that year with Mrs. Duffy’s care, nurturing and patience. She knew exactly what Kaitlin needed to grow and become a great student. We owe it all to Mrs. Duffy.
Her smile was contagious and her laughter warming. She will forever be remembered by our family and remain in our hearts.
When we see a sunflower, we will think of you!
We are deeply saddened and very sorry for your loss.
Sincerely,
Dan and Janel Weber
  Dan and Janel Weber (Sayville, NY)

  September 4, 2007
Mrs. Duffy,
You are the best teacher ever. You said I was special. I liked when you said that. You were a great kindergarten teacher. I love you like you were family. I will miss you!
Love,
Kaitlin Weber
(kindergarten 2005-2006)
  Kaitlin Weber (Sayville, NY)

  September 4, 2007
Erin,God bless you and your family. You will be remembered in the hearts of the teachers, students and parents of Sayville. Kevin, thank you for loving Erin with such devotion and giving her the chance to really be herself. She choose a special man to make this journey with.
  Sayville Teacher (Sayville)

  September 4, 2007
Mr and Mrs. Halliday,Christine,and Billy,So sorry for your loss. You will be in our thoughts and Prayers.
  Jamie Harkins and Family (Holdy) (Jensen Beach, FL)
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  September 4, 2007
Dear Mrs. Duffy,Even though you weren’t my teacher you are one of the best. Your laugh will always be in my head now! : ) You probably have tons of friends right now and you can have my pet dog Rocky as your pet now. You taught all of us lessons that will never be forgotten.
  Jillian Estelle (Sayville, NY)

  September 4, 2007
Dear Erin:There are no words to express our heartbreak, You walked us as 1st time parents going through Kindergarten and you held not only the children’s hands but ours as well. You have left an indelible mark on our daughter, Gianna-Rose. Her dance the day she received your letter was a testimonial to the joy you brought to her. Your laugh was so contagious and your smile a mile wide that anybody who talked with you had to laugh too! I will miss that when I wander the halls occasionally. You inspired our children in so many ways and they will all carry a piece of you inside them forever. God must have needed one of the most special people to help him and there you are… may you rest in peace with Him always.To Mr. Duffy and Mr. & Mrs. Halliday:Thank you for sharing Erin with us what a beautiful spirit.
We will never forget the gift of her being.The Scoleri Family
  Dina Scoleri (Sayville, NY)
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  September 4, 2007
May Erin rest in peace eternally, and her spirit live on in all whose lives she touched. My deepest sympathy to her husband, family and friends.
  A friend (Sayville, NY)

  September 4, 2007
Dear Erin,Not only where you my son, Matt’s favorite teacher, you were a total inspiration to so many. My family and I were so lucky to have you in our lives. We will never forget the beautiful smile that shined so bright. You will always be in our hearts and memories.
  The Casadona Family (San Diego)
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  September 4, 2007
Kevin:I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your wife, Erin. From reading the posting she was an amazing woman and teacher that touched so many lives.
As you said to me last year at Dad’s memorial, if there is anything you need, please let us know.
I am truly sorry you have to feel this pain.
  Sharon Mahon (Duarte) (Galivants Ferry, SC)
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  September 4, 2007
Mrs Duffy your an inspriation to so many. Your beautiful smile will forever be etched in our hearts! I couldn’t believe how special your husband and family were. It was incredible to watch how many lives you touched last night. God needed another angel and friend and he chose Erin.
  The Stockerts (Sayville, NY)

  September 4, 2007
Dear Mrs. Duffy,
Even though I never had you as a teacher you where a great teacher. The thing I will remember the most is your smile I remember when you came in my classroom and would always smile. My friend Amanda would always tell me awesome things about you. You where friends with my two awesome teachers Mrs. Whitehurst and Miss. Galvin. I will miss you and I hope you can teach all the kids up in heaven where you are.
Love, Jaycee – 9
  Jaycee Rodman (Sayville, NY)

  September 4, 2007
My son was fortunate to have her for both kindergarten and 3rd grade and she has left her mark forever. Not very many people can say they touched an entire community but Erin has that distinction. We were all warmed by her loving and generous spirit. We could all learn about genuine human kindness from Erin, Kevin and her whole family. She will be missed so very much…
  Karyn Russo (Sayville, NY)

  September 4, 2007
Dear Erin,
I didn’t know you well, my children didn’t have you as a teacher. I’ve mostly seen you in the halls of Lincoln Ave and a couple of times when I would sub as an aid in your class. Those brief encounters, will now be cherished for a lifetime, because it doesn’t matter how little we knew each other, what matters is how big the impression you have left on me and my children. Your smile and kindness, your loving spirit will always live on.
  Shelley Rodman (Sayville, NY)

  September 4, 2007
When some friends come into your life you know from the start that they will hold a place in your heart unlike any other. Erin taught those who were lucky to know her that it was important to laugh and play. I never had to guess when she was nearby- I heard her laugh. She taught us to love with a deep connection to each other. Her sense of humor and playful approach to life continues to teach us to love deep and play hard. Recognize that there are signs of her everywhere. We will miss her always. God bless Erin.
  Kathy Whitehurst (West Sayville, NY)
September 4, 2007
Dear Erin,
I am honored to have had the priviledge to work with you, if only for a short time, at Lincoln Avenue. I will always remember your uplifting spirit and your infectious smile. You touched the hearts of anyone who knew you and you made their day better by your presence. The many photographs that adorned your file cabinet were a testament to your spirit: You lived life to the fullest and shared the joys of that life with your family and friends. I am blessed for having shared a small portion of that life with you. You will be deeply missed.May God forever hold you in the palm of his hand.Rest in peace,
Elizabeth Capobianco (Mrs. C)
  Elizabeth Capobianco (Bethpage, NY)

  September 3, 2007
Dear Mrs. Duffy,
I am going to miss you very much. I was very lucky to have you as a teacher for two years. I will always remember how you made me smile everyday and how you were always so happy. You were my favorite teacher. I hope you enjoy kayaking and doing yoga in the clouds. Love, Hailey
  Hailey Forster (NY)

  September 3, 2007
Erin,You were the first person I met at Lincoln. I was so fortunate to work with you my first year because you taught me so much like not to sweat the small stuff. I have so many happy memories with you. These memories will last a lifetime and will help everyone through this tough time. We send all our love, thoughts and prayers to your family, Kevin and of course to you. You will be greatly missed!
  Jenn and Scott Williams (Ronkonkoma, NY)
 
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  September 3, 2007
Mrs Duffy,I will miss you, you were the best teacher ever!(2004-05)
  Angela McDermott Age 8 (Sayville, NY)

  September 3, 2007
To Erin’s family,
This is such a terrible tragedy. But I hope you can take solace in the knowledge that though she was taken from this world far too soon, Erin touched more people, did more good, and spread more joy than most people can even aspire to should they live a thousand lifetimes.When I meet my class this week, a part of Erin will be with me, as I know she will be with every teacher who was lucky enough to have worked with her.
  Rob Verbeck (Sayville, NY)
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  September 3, 2007
Dear Erin,
What a pleasure it was to work with you (I shouldn’t even call it work because it was truly enjoyable). I can still hear your laughter. You were a warm, wonderful teacher and truly a very special person. You will be missed by all that had the privilege to know you. I will keep your family in my prayers. Jillian saw a butterfly yesterday and swears it was you.
Much love,
Sheila Estelle
  Sheila Estelle (Sayville, NY)

  September 3, 2007
Dear Erin,
We will miss you dearly. Thank you for being a great patient. We vow to keep fighting CF and to help all our patients better their lives everyday.To dear Kevin, Mom, Dad, William, Christine and family,
Thank you for being with us and understanding us as we went thru the difficult times. Erin is so wonderful, has touched so many lives and definitely has touched all of us at Stony Brook.
Cathy Kier and CF Center at Stony Brook
  Catherine Kier (Stony Brook)

  September 2, 2007
MAUREEN,BILL,CHRISTINE,BILLY,KEVINI AM SURE THAT ERIN’S SHORT BUT BEAUTIFUL LIFE WAS AN INSPIRATION TO ALL THAT NEW HER. HER SMILE AND BUBBLY PERSONALIY WAS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.
‘MAY ERIN COME TO KNOW THE LOVING and GENTLE HEART OF JESUS!……
  Aunt EILEEN & Uncle BOB GOLDBERG (CHANDLER, AZ)
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  September 2, 2007
My dearest Erin: I will miss you forever….and can’t help but feel how this is so unfair! You are a beautiful person that has touched my life, my family’s life forever. I am so glad you were Joseph’s “first crush”! I am so glad Kevin was good enough to share you with him! You taught me how to be young and how to enjoy life to its fullest and I promise to make you proud. Hey I hope texting is cheaper in heaven because I certainly don’t plan on stopping the texting to you! I love you sweet angel and look over all of us forever….rest in peace my dear friend I will miss you forever…..Kevin and Mr. and Mrs. Halliday, thank you for sharing Erin with all us, she was a beautiful person and will be missed so very much. May god bless all of you, my thoughts and prayers are with you!Gerilyn Panzarino
  Gerilyn Panzarino (Sayville, NY)

  September 2, 2007
Dear Kevin and Mr. and Mrs. Halliday,I am so sorry for your loss. Erin was truly a special person who will be missed by so many. It was wonderful to work with such a gifted and caring teacher. Her beautiful smile and easy laughter brought joy to students and colleagues alike. May your memories bring you comfort and peace. I will miss her.
  Cathy Pennello (Saint James, NY)
September 2, 2007
Erin, to have known you was truly a privilege. With your shining personality and radiant smile, you will remain in the heart of every person who knew you. You are truly an inspiration. You’re a rare and beautiful gift to us all. I will remember you always.To Kevin, Erin’s Family & Friends: My thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless.
  Lynn Meade (Islip Terrace, NY)
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  September 2, 2007
Erin,
Though we only worked together briefly, your contagious smile and spirit has left a lasting impression on me. You will be missed. My heart goes out to your family and friends.
  Fred Diekmann (Patchogue, NY)
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  September 2, 2007
Dear Erin,
I will never forget “be who you are”. Knowing you has made me a better person. I will miss your distinguished laugh, your easy going nature,and how you would always remind me to “not sweat the small stuff”. You will never be forgotten.To Kevin, family and friends,
I can’t begin to express how sorry I am for your loss. As you know, Erin was an amazing person who left an indelible mark on everyone who knew her. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.
With love and sympathy,
Amy Lobacz
  Amy Lobacz-Buckley (East Setauket, NY)
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  September 2, 2007
Mrs.Duffy,
You were a fantastic teacher.I’ll miss you so much.Thank you for all your kidness.Love Danielle age 11
  Danielle McDermott (Sayville, NY)

  September 2, 2007
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.
  AL /MARYANN CINQUE (HOLBROOK, NY)
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  September 2, 2007
Miss Duffy you were a fantastic teacher I’ll miss you so much.
  Danielle McDermott (Sayville, NY)

  September 2, 2007
Mr. and Mrs. Halliday, Billy… I’m sorry to hear about your loss. My thoughts will be with you and your family.
  Tim Holdy (Jensen Beach, FL)
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  September 2, 2007
Erin,Your kind spirit will continue on through the many lives you have influenced throughout the years. I am blessed to have known and worked beside you. You are a true angel now. Every time I look to the stars I will think of your bright smile as they twinkle. God bless you and your family.With all my love,
Christine Senatore
  Christine Senatore (Copiague, NY)
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  September 2, 2007
What can I say – to know Erin was to love her!! She was a great friend, who was so full of life and always wore a smile on her face. I thank God that I met and became friends with her. She will always hold a special place in my heart. To Kevin and all of Erin’s family- may your hearts always be filled with warm and happy memories. Rest in peace, my friend.
  Christine Longobardi (Nesconset, NY)
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  September 2, 2007
Dear Erin,
It was my good fortune to have worked in your classroom last year. Each morning I walked into the classroom and was greeted with a big, beautiful, genuine smile. What a wonderful way to start a day. Your students saw and felt it too. Your smile was contagious.
Aside from being your aide, I
also considered us friends. We shared some funny situations and had some big laughs. Thank you for being my friend. I will never forget you. GOD BLESS YOU!
Love, Mary McLaughlinmy
  Mary Mclaughlin (sayville, NY)
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September 2, 2007
Erin,
You were such an amazing person and I will never forget the love and friendship that you shared with me. I feel so blessed to have been your friend. I cherish all the memories & laughs we shared. You have enriched the lives of so many people & children. My life is so much better because I knew you. May God bless you. You will always be close to my heart. I love you.To Erin’s Family,
My deepest sympathies – Erin will forever be in our hearts. May you know that you will never walk alone. I will always keep you in my thoughts and prayers.Kevin,
I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. You too will hold a special place in my heart. I am so sorry for the pain you are feeling. Please know that we are all here supporting you and loving you. God Bless You.I love you all.
  Nicole Palmarozzo (Patchogue, NY)
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  September 2, 2007
Erin,You have touched my life in more ways than you could ever possibly know. You were such a model of living life to the fullest and always seeing the good in everyone and everything. I will treasure the times that we shared together. It seemed that no matter what we did, we always had a great time! Though you are no longer with us, you will forever be in my heart! I feel truly blessed to have been able to call you my friend.To Kevin, Mr. and Mrs. Halliday, Friends and Family, my sincere thoughts and prayers are extended to you.With sincere sympathy,Kortney and Michael DuMoulin
  Kortney DuMoulin

  September 2, 2007
Dearest Erin,You are a very special person and friend. You are a true inspiration on how to live and love each and every moment of life to the fullest. Thank you for touching our lives and for making each day a little bit more enjoyable. We are all going to miss your beautiful smile and joyful laugh. You will remain in our hearts always.To Kevin, Mr. & Mrs. Duffy, Family and Friends,
Our thoughts and prayers are with you always.With Love and Sympathy,
Christine & Len Caltabiano
  Christine Caltabiano (North Babylon, NY)

  September 2, 2007
Erin, you were an absolute ray of sunshine in the lives of everyone you met. You touched my life in such a positive way. You had an amazing outlook on life and are a model to everyone to live life to the fullest.
  Elizabeth Denton (Bayport, NY)

  September 2, 2007
Mrs. Duffy,You were the best kindergarten teacher in the world.(2004-2005)
I love you and I will miss you.Love, Leighann age 8
  Leighann Gensch (Sayville, NY)

  September 2, 2007
Please, accept our deepest sympathies. Mrs. Duffy was a beautiful person, inside and out. She was so kind and loving to her students, she would be greatly missed. My son, Kevin, would never forget how wonderful and supporting she was to him in kindergarten. Kevin promises to “keep on drawing” as Mrs. Duffy encouraged him to do.We would always miss her bright smile.Carlton, Lorraine and Kevin Sumner
  Lorraine Sumner (Sayville, NY)
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  September 2, 2007
My Dear Erin,
I just want you to know that you brought me joy in many ways. You were my student (90-91), my colleague, and most of all my friend. You always had a way of picking me up when I was down…and it always made me laugh when you would call me Miss Donadio all these years later. I know I now have my second student-angel watching over me from above. You will be in my heart (all of our hearts) forever and always.To Kevin, Mr. and Mrs. Halliday, and all of Erin’s other family,
friends, and students, I send my heartfelt sympathy.”I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him I trust….He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” PSALM91:2,11Most sincerely,
Janet (Donadio) Cozza
John and Emily Cozza
  Janet Cozza (Medford, NY)
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8 Responses to “A Final Word”

  1. Garrett Schaper said

    I knew Erin my entire childhood, growing up with her in what recall as all my classes, from Lincoln Ave through high school. She always stood out as a powerful, authentic and loving woman. Her smile was infectious, no one could be upset with her in the room. Her light shined far too brightly for anyone to resist her natural warm and love. She will be missed by all who ever knew her. My heart goes out to her family, and she will be in my thoughts.

    With Love,
    Garrett Schaper

  2. Janet (Donadio) Cozza said

    HI Garrett,

    Don’t know if you’ll remember me…your “old” teacher at Lincoln Avenue. I couldn’t agree more with your beautiful words about Erin. I was blessed to have her as a student, colleague, and friend. It is really hard for me to look out of my classroom and realize that Erin isn’t there. However, your words, as well as all of the other tributes, help me to realize how very blessed I was to have had her in my life. I know she will always watch over me. I hope you are doing fine. I can still see your face smiling back at me after all of these years. My best to you always.
    Janet (Donadio) Cozza

  3. Stephen Fallon said

    I have to agree, I only got to know Erin for a short time when I worked with her, but knew her Brother Billy and I feel for the loss to the community and her family. She indeed was a daily rainbow in the sometimes drudge of life.

    Garrett if you read this we need to get in contact, I want to know how you and your family are doing.

  4. Christine Halliday Rooney said

    I just wanted to thank you for all of the wonderful words about my beautiful little sister Erin. She was my favorite person in the world, and had so much love, warmth and happiness in her soul. We will never forget all the kind words by everyone and hope she will always be remembered.

  5. Wendy Weter said

    Hello Halliday family! Just wanted to let you all know I have never forgotten what a wonderful family you guys are. I could go on and on sharing all the wonderful memories of playing with Erin when we were little. She could hula hoop better than anyone else on the block! My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

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