Friends Remembered Home | Friends Detail
Helge Erickson (W7DIV)
November 1, 2010
html . . . .
Helge J. Erickson
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
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
Erickson was preceded in death by his
wife Dorothy, their two adopted children
John and Camilla, and his brother,
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
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
Contributed by: Mike (N2MG)
You must be a member of eHAM.net to post a story on the Friends Remembered page.
Becoming a member of eHAM.net is easy. All we need is a Callsign.
The sign-up process prevents others from posting a story as if the
story came from you. You can get more information about signing up and
our strict adherence to confidentiality
at the sign-up page.