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Friends Remembered Home | Friends Detail

Helge Erickson (W7DIV)

November 1, 2010

From html . . . . Helge J. Erickson U.S. Veteran Helge Erickson, a well-known Hoquiam civic activist recalled by friends for his crystal sharp scientific mind tempered by a gentle spirit, died in Hoquiam Monday at the age of 99. While his age slowed him a bit in recent years, Erickson was still active and would eagerly share stories of his many adventures. While photography, volunteering, conservation and being a ham radio operator were just a few of his passions, his "steel-trap memory" also made him a living history textbook of life in and around Grays Harbor. On Saturday night, he attended a party as the Olympians hiking club celebrated its 90th anniversary. For 72 of those years, Erickson was an ardent member. "He was a star attraction at the party," said Barbara Jorgenson, president of the Olympians. He helped narrate a slide show on the history of the club. His cheerful, upbeat attitude was evident at the party, as it had been throughout his long life. Erickson was born June 9, 1911, in the Hoquiam home where his kid sister, Svea McKay, 96, still lives. His parents, John G. and Vendla Meria Erickson, had immigrated to the United States in 1890 and 1906, respectively, from the Swedish speaking region of Finland. "He is a special person, I've never seen him angry in my whole life. He was a wonderful brother," said his sister. Erickson was the oldest of four children born in the Hoquiam home. In addition to his sister, Erickson leaves behind a brother, Stanley, 95, who lives near Los Angeles. Erickson was preceded in death by his wife Dorothy, their two adopted children John and Camilla, and his brother, Harold. He was a 1931 graduate of Hoquiam High School and later served in World War II from 1942 to 1945 as a radio operator with the 843rd Signal Service Battalion and received a Meritorious Service Unit Award. Hiking and nature were enduring passions for Helge, said his nephew, Jerry Erickson of Hoquiam. "I haven't found a place in the Olympic Mountains he hadn't already been," said Jerry. "He would tell me stories about when he was there, whether it had been raining or not, even if 50 years had passed. He had a phenomenal mind and memory." Erickson's wife Dorothy was also a born adventurer, and throughout their years together the two made numerous trips to remote, out-of-the-way places around the globe. When at home, the couple gave of themselves to their community. "It was his ties to people that made him an icon of the town, the things he and Dorothy were always doing for people, connecting with people," said Barbara Bennett Parsons, his goddaughter. Everyone who met him was impressed by his recall and ability to articulate a lifetime of adventures. "He literally remembered everything," Parsons said. His many interests and activities garnered him many awards. He was a 50- plus year member of numerous groups, including the Hoquiam Lions Club, First United Methodist Church in Hoquiam and the Grays Harbor Amateur Radio Club. In later years, he was honored by the Polson Museum as the 1996 Pioneer of the Year, and in 2008 he was awarded the 75th Anniversary Award from the Quarter Century Wireless Association. Literally thousands of people enjoyed Erickson's special recipe and techniques for sourdough pancakes. He made them for hundreds of fund-raisers for various organizations through the years, as well as for hungry hikers in high altitudes and remote locations. It's another special part of Erickson that has now passed into Harbor history. "This man encapsulated what we all like to think of as our country and what we are -- generous, persevering, faithful and dedicated -- that was Helge," Parsons said. "He was really a special man."

Contributed by: Mike (N2MG)

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