A celebration of the life of Kathryn A. Errecart, beloved Tehachapi teacher of three generations of students, will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16, in the gymnasium of Jacobson Middle School.
Mrs. Errecart died earlier this month at the age of 88.
Born in Cadott, Wisc., to Ellsworth and Clara Gustman, she moved with her parents and brother, Robert, to Los Angeles at the age of 14 and graduated from Van Nuys High School at 16. She graduated from UCLA with degrees in both English and music at the age of 19 and accepted a position as a music teacher in the Tehachapi school district. Later, she received a Masters of Arts degree in English from Fresno State University. She was married to Tehachapi resident Pete F. Errecart for 31 years and raised two children with him.
Survivors include her son Larry and his wife Wendy Errecart of Sacramento; daughter, Jeanne Levig of Bakersfield; daughter-of-the-heart, Jamie Sullivan of Bakersfield; grandchildren Christopher and wife Lisa Errecart of Long Beach, Joshua and wife Jamie Errecart of Roseville, Dr. Keith and wife Mandy Errecart of Long Beach, Erik and wife Mindy Levig of Bakersfield, Kelly Levig and fiancé Chris Dison of Bakersfield; and great-grandchildren Kaitlyn, Cole, Carson, Kobe, Jackson, Ava, Avery, Maya, and Malia Errecart, Davyn and Logan Levig and Riley Dison.
She taught in the Tehachapi Unified School District for 47 years, during which time she helped shape the lives of three generations of English and music students. Upon her retirement from the schools, she went on to create a full-time piano studio through which she continued to serve her community by offering her musical and instructional gifts and talents to piano students for an additional 15 years.
Mrs. Errecart moved to Bakersfield in September 2006 at the age of 80. Tehachapi News columnist Jon Hammond covered a surprise going-away party given for her at the time, as follows:
"Scores of well-wishers stopped by the open house to visit with Kathryn, who is revered for her decades of teaching in Tehachapi — she came here in 1946 when she was hired by the school district with support from my great-uncle Lance Estes, who was on the school board. They became great friends and her exceptional talent at playing piano and organ were thoroughly appreciated in the small mountain town of Tehachapi," Hammond wrote.
"After 60 years, Kathryn is leaving us to live in Bakersfield with her daughter Jeannie Levig because of health considerations," he continued. "She still has one of her pianos and her friends and students will not be surprised to hear that she still plays. She has missed few days of practice in over 70 years."
Some quotes from a few students speak best to the life she lived:
“She was the best teacher ever and I will never forget her. She taught me English composition, literature and piano. Because of her, I was able to go on and get a first-class university education, and she made it possible for me to make a living as a composer, writer, editor and music educator. It really is true that a great teacher can make a difference in your life, and I know that Kathryn was that teacher for thousands of us who were lucky enough to be her students.” Jack Van Zandt, Tehachapi High School Class of 1972
“Mrs. Errecart reinforced my love of literature and reading as well as my love of classical music. She was my honors English teacher throughout high school and my piano teacher for nine years. No doubt, she was tough, both in the classroom and at the piano. She had our best interests at heart and pushed us to succeed. I am thankful my son Jacob was one of her piano students over seven years ago until she retired fully. Mrs. Errecart truly loved her students and her legacy has lived on in our house through English classes and love of the piano. What I learned from her remains with me to this day and has been passed down to my own child. God Bless you, Mrs. Errecart.” Corinne Mendoza Cortez, Tehachapi High School Class of 1980
“Kathryn Errecart was one of those people you never forget. As a teacher, she expected your best effort whether it was in the classroom or at the piano. Heaven's music is more beautiful today because she is playing along. Rest in peace, lovely lady.” Linda Stivers
“I believe there is a special place in heaven for her. Despite my spelling and punctuation problems, she told me I had a gift for writing and a way of seeing things at a deeper level. (I always thought I was getting the assignments wrong.) She said I viewed things in a philosophical way and that it was 100 percent OK. Her words and encouragement meant the world to me.” Peggy Wheatley
n lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Kathryn Errecart Memorial Scholarship. Make checks payable to LightWave Education with Kathryn Errecart Scholarship in the memo line. Donations may be made at the Celebration of Life service or mailed to Jeannie Levig, 6713 Sly Lane, Bakersfield, CA 93309.