Nicole Cate McKernan

Date of Death

December 6, 2019

Loving Mom, daughter, sister, friend. Nicole McKernan passed away on December 6, 2019 in Thousand Oaks, California. After surviving a preeclamptic stroke 4 years ago, she passed away of septic shock and pneumonia. She is survived by her daughters, Violet and Ella, parents Mike and Jan, sister Brie, brother-in-law Ryan, niece Meadow, nephew Reid, uncles, aunts and cousins.

Even though Nicole’s life was short…only 33 years…she left an important legacy.

She left a legacy of friendship. Nicole’s legacy to her friends will be all the happy and fun times they had as friends, and the times they shared troubles and sorrows. Nicole touched the lives of many people throughout the Santa Barbara community as she sang in concerts, toured with her cheer team, took piano lessons, attended camps, and was in a local production of CATS; she attended UCSB in the young scholars program and went to Santa Barbara City College where she graduated in 2011.


Nicole was a compassionate person who volunteered her time to causes that were dear to her. She felt empathy for people having troubles, and volunteered accordingly. One of the organizations dear to her heart was Pacific Pride and the AIDS Walk. She helped organize the delivery of food to people with AIDS who could not prepare their own meals or shop. Her Grandma Dolly was blind, and Nicole felt compassion for her Grandma’s struggle and ultimate triumph over her blindness. This led her to join her Grandma Dolly, volunteering at the Braille Institute, and together they supported and taught others who struggled.

Nicole left a happy stamp in the hearts of her family. Nicole traveled to Scotland to be in her sister’s wedding. We have fond memories of touring castles and enjoying the long daylight hours and adjusting to Scottish driving and food. We, her Mom and Dad, will carry Nicole’s legacy forward when we remember Nicole’s easy laughter, her joyfulness, the struggles, our little inside jokes, her eclectic music taste and love of travel.

Nicole’s most important legacy is her daughters, Violet and Ella. They each inherited many special qualities from Nicole; her strength and perseverance, her humor and wit, her gumption and grit. The most important thing to Nicole in life was her daughters. She was so excited to be a Mom. She looked forward to raising them, playing with them and showing them the world. She wanted them to love the local wonders of Santa Barbara like her favorites: Franceschi Park, Alice Keck Park Gardens, the Santa Barbara Zoo and the botanical gardens. Nicole was interred in a private ceremony on December 18 at the Santa Barbara Cemetery, overlooking another favorite place, the Andree Clark Bird Refuge.

This is a poem, read by her daughter, at her Mommy’s funeral:

I wrote your name in the sky,

but the wind blew it away.


I wrote your name in the sand, 

but the waves washed it away.


I wrote your name in my heart,

and forever it will stay.

Although Nicole left us too soon, she has left a solid, happy, love-filled legacy. We each take a part of Nicole with us out into the world … and the world is a better place for it.

Always in our hearts… Nicole


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