Gary Lee Erickson, 87, of Fridley, MN, beloved husband, father & grandfather, was called home to heaven on Thanksgiving, November 25, 2021, after suffering from terminal health issues. Myrna, Gary's wife of 60 years, was forever at his side and he was surrounded by the love, support and care of his family, friends and care staff.
Gary was born in Westbrook, MN on September 6, 1934, the third child of Clarence and Olga (Kleven) Erickson. He was raised on the farm, moving to town after his parents purchased an Our Own Hardware Store. He was baptized and confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church in Westbrook. Gary graduated from Westbrook H.S. in 1952, excelling in athletics, music and academics. A highlight of his HS years was winning the N. Subdistrict Basketball Championship and playing in the Regional Tournament.
Gary continued his education at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter before entering the Army branch of the military service from 1954-56, where he was a Teletype Radio Operator and earned a Medal of Good Conduct. After he was honorably discharged from the service, Gary returned to MN, graduating with a bachelor of Civil Engineering degree in March of 1961 at the U of MN. In 1965, he achieved the status of a Registered Professional Engineer. Upon graduation, Gary worked for a consulting engineering firm for 5 years. Then, he started working for the US Army Corps of Engineers where he had a successful career spanning more than 30 years. Gary found great joy and fulfillment through his career.
The greatest joy of Gary's life, however, was his wife Myrna and the family that they raised together. His family was always his priority. Gary married Myrna (Latch) on June 25, 1961 after having met at a MN-Iowa football game, singing competing fight-songs. They raised 2 children, residing in Fridley for 54 years. Gary's life always remained centered around his family and he was a devoted father who enjoyed teaching, coaching and supporting his children. A man of faith, Gary was a long time member of St Philip's Lutheran Church. Gary continued to enjoy sporting events and had season tickets to the Gopher Football and Basketball games for many years. He loved music and enjoyed endless hours of jazz, 50's, blues and show tunes. Gary was a talented woodworker and crafted beautiful pieces of work which he gave away. He was an all-around handyman, able to repair or build anything. Gary loved the outdoors and throughout his life he enjoyed hunting, fishing and gardening. He spent many summers at his lake property in Shell Lake, WI, camping, fishing and clearing land. After retiring, Gary and Myrna enjoyed traveling and exploring new places. In his later years, Gary continued to enjoy music, working crossword puzzles, playing cards, doing projects, watching sports and spending time with family and friends.
Gary was a cherished grandfather to his six grandchildren. He was his grandchildren's #1 fan; cheering them on at countless gymnastics meets, hockey games, dance competitions & recitals, school activities and important life events throughout the years. He was always in the stands, cheering on his grandkids with enthusiasm and pride.
Gary was cherished for his generosity, devotion, intelligence, humility, quick wit and sense of humor. He enriched our lives with endless support and encouragement. His greatest joy was found in spending time with his family and celebrating reaching their milestones. Gary showed us how to live life with inquisitiveness, compassion and gratitude. He had a deep passion for learning and a willingness to always lend a hand. He will be greatly missed. Our hearts still ache with sadness, but we will draw upon our memories of Gary when we need his encouragement and wisdom.
Preceding Gary in death were his parents, Clarence and Olga (Kleven) Erickson; his brother, Roger Erickson; nephews, Douglas and Randall Erickson and neice, Kerry (Bigbee) Alvarado.
Survivors include his wife, Myrna (Latch) Erickson; children, Susan Erickson (Todd Elftmann), Gregg Erickson (Kathleen); 6 grandchildren, Ashlyn & Eric Elftmann, Natalie, Marissa, Adam & Graham Erickson; Gary's sister, Marilyn (Erickson) Bigbee (Kent); sister-in-law, Donna Erickson; brother-in-law, Richard Latch; 5 nieces & nephews and many cousins, friends and relatives.
A Celebration of Gary's Life will be held Friday, June 17 at St. Philip's Lutheran Church, 6108 MN HWY 65 Fridley, MN 55432 at 11 am with visitation one hour before the service. Reception will immediately follow. Livestream available at splcmn.org. Private Interment at Fort Snelling to be held at a later date.
A special thank you to the Cherrywood Woodlands & Ridgeview Hospice staff for the tender care you gave to Gary.
Memorials preferred to St. Philip's Lutheran Church (6108 MN-65 Fridley, MN 55432), the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) or memorial of choice.