April 2018 - In Tribute: Lisa Erika Blaufuss

“Wonder Woman” leaves a legacy of love, enthusiasm, dedication to dressage and fun.

by Friends of Lisa • photos: Terri Miller Photography

Lisa was a wonderful woman, beautiful both inside and out. She was loved, is now missed, and will forever be cherished by everyone that knew her. She was a great wife that uplifted her husband; a wonderful mother that championed her daughter and a good friend to too many to mention. Lisa passed away at home after a seven-year-plus battle with breast cancer on March 9.

Lisa is survived by John Kelly, Husband; Ciera Kelly, Daughter; Julita  Blaufuss, Mother;  Erich Blaufuss, Brother; Kim Blaufuss, Sister. She was predeceased by her father, Arthur Blaufuss on 10/20/1984. She would have been 57 years young this month.

She was born on March 24, 1961 in Chicago, IL, but grew up in the southwest corner of the rural town of Marshall. Growing up in the country, she developed a love for nature and animals, but she was always especially fond of horses.

After high school, she attended Hamline University in Lac qui Parie County, MN. There she learned to speak Mandarin Chinese (she was already fluent in French) and majored in business. With a desire to perfect her language skills and study Chinese culture; she spent the last year-and-a-half of her time at college in China attending Beijing University. This was before China had modernized--very soon after it had opened up to the West.

Returning to the U.S. shortly after her father’s death, she moved to San Diego. Lisa took a job as a purchasing manager at Rohe Industries first and later joined Qualcomm as a project manager.

It was in San Diego that her love of horses was reignited when she was introduced to the sport of dressage. It was both the art and the challenge of the sport that hooked her. She loved the sport and the people in it.

In 1993 she met her future husband, John, at an event hosted by the Cancer Society. They were married in September of 1997 in a small ceremony on a rooftop in La Jolla. She planned every detail of the event, including having a troop of authentic Hawaiian dancers surprise the reception guests, where she also performed a special hula dance that she had secretly learned.

On Dec. 29, 1999 she gave birth to her daughter, Ciera Hope. Lisa returned to work after maternity leave, but after a couple of weeks of returning to corporate life, she decided to be a stay-at-home mom. Lisa thought it was important that she be there and experience her daughter’s earliest milestones.

Once Ciera started preschool, Lisa had time to get back to the sport she loved. She trained with the Hoffmans’ at Rancho Los Amigos for several years with a horse named Hogan. She then joined Kim Keenan Stordahl to train at Wildflower Ranch with her horse Khaos. In addition to the challenge of riding, she joined Kim volunteering for the local San Diego CDS chapter in 2004, where they helped develop the chapter’s show circuit to make it what it is today. After many years of volunteering, she became a paid contractor in 2011 and assumed the role of show manager for the chapter shows.

Spooktacular!

She then started her own company in 2013: CrackerJack Productions, LLC. She took over Kim Keenan Stordahl’s show, The Dressage Affaire, and created her own show, The Spooktacular Halloween Dressage Show.

Her mission was to create an event where everyone would have fun and enjoy the time together and she was so proud when it succeeded.

To enhance the actual competition, Lisa added a costume day, costume freestyles, a doggie costume contest, a relay race (a rather strange one that included a wheelbarrow, a bouncy ball, and a somewhat reluctant pony to be ridden bareback), tent decorating contest, barn party and the now famous Boo Bash hosted by Tina Caldwell that includes a team costume competition. Lisa worked tirelessly on creating the perfect experience and “Spook,” as she nicknamed it, was embraced and strongly supported by all who came to it. Lisa took her own costumes very seriously, leading by example for others:  even the judges would dress up on costume day!

Lisa’s greatest gift was making others feel important and special. Even on her toughest days she would go out of her way to meet up with a friend to help them and brighten their day. She was forever introducing and connecting people to one another. You couldn’t help but feel more optimistic when you saw her smile and heard her laugh. Because she understood all too well what others with cancer were going through, she always donated a portion of the proceeds of her shows to several different cancer organizations over the years. She also enjoyed fostering entrepreneurship and helping individuals see and reach their greatest potential.

She was a fiercely strong and independent woman, protective of her “tribe,” whether family or friend. That’s why it made perfect sense that she acquired the alias “Wonder Woman.” Even when receiving chemo or when she frequently ended up in the emergency room, she made it her mission to get that one particular nurse or doctor (the impersonal one with a sour expression) to smile and laugh. She always seemed to glow from within, no matter what she had just endured. She would show up and get busy as if nothing had occurred.

Her best times were spent camping, hiking and enjoying the outdoors with family and friends. She loved Yosemite, Mammoth, the Great Northwest and, especially the Grand Canyon.

Lisa leaves a great void in the community but her spirit will be remembered always in our hearts.


There will be a Celebration of Life held on May 5th, at 3pm at: Del Mar Horsepark (on the Grand Prix jumping field/big white tent), 14550 El Camino Real, Del Mar CA 92014

Please RSVP at www.friendsoflisa.org/rsvp. In lieu of flowers, donations are being collected to support the continuation of The 6th Annual Spooktakular Halloween Dressage Show that will be held on October 27/28, 2018 in Lisa’s honor. This event will be run as a charity event to raise funds for Lisa’s daughter Ciera who will be heading to college this fall.

Please make checks payable to: Friends of Lisa, and send them to: Friends of Lisa, PO Box 5005-9, Rancho Santa Fe CA 92067