Erick Karl Erickson, 94, passed away on Nov. 14, 2018. He was born on November 2, 1924, in Anaconda to Franz and Selma Erickson. His family moved to Great Falls when he was young. He graduated from Great Falls High School and immediately enlisted in the Army during World War II. He served was as a military policeman in the Asiatic Pacific Theater. When he was 89, he was able to travel with a Montana contingent on an Honor Flight to Washington DC to see the WWII memorial. That was a highlight of his senior years. After the war, Erick returned to Montana and attended College of Great Falls, Gonzaga University and Montana State University where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Education. In November of 1954 he married Shirley Marie Schmidt. They were married for nearly 60 years.
Erick started his teaching career in Vaughn, Montana. He was a superintendent of schools in the communities of Outlook, Roundup and Belgrade. He moved his family to Billings in 1966 to become a professor at Eastern Montana College in the faculty of Education and principal of Eastern Elementary Campus School. Erick loved children and dedicated his professional career to their betterment.
Erick and Shirley started camping with their children when they were young and graduated from a tent to a trailer and finally a motor home which they thoroughly enjoyed in their retirement. Erick loved to eat and would usually end each meal by planning the next one. On his camping trips, he was usually the camp cook, creating meals of corn beef and cabbage for crowds who would wander over to see what was cooking. Erick and Shirley were long time members of the Billings Boat Club and loved the many fishing adventures that club provided. Erick enabled Shirley to become quite an accomplished angler because he was so willing to bait her hooks.
Erick had an amazing sense of humor and an ever expanding repertoire of jokes. He was also an accomplished story teller with an uncanny ability to remember names. Erick’s hands were rarely still. He was a tinkerer by nature, spending hours in his garage repairing and repainting cars, particularly Volkswagens. In his later years, he made many useful contraptions, most of which were functional but not pretty as he never claimed to be much of a carpenter. Erick was a Shriner and Mason of Rimrock Lodge #149 and enjoyed the opportunities membership brought to his life.
Erick was preceded in death by his wife of nearly 60 years, Shirley Marie Schmidt, his parents, two sisters and a brother. Erick is survived by his son Erick (Jeni) and granddaughter Greta of Elbert, Colorado and daughter Karla (Robert) Satchwell and grandchildren Andrew and Katherine (Steve) Murchison of Edmonton, Alberta, brother-in-law Albert (Carolyn) Schmidt, and nephews and nieces and many dear, lifelong friends.