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Obituary - James "Jim" Erickson


November 6, 2018

James Erickson

On 10/25/2018, James "Jim" Erickson, loving husband and father of two children, passed away on his 95th birthday, making good on his promise to outlive his 94-year-old father. 

Jim was born on 10/25/1923 in Mankato, MN, to Arvid and Johanna Erickson. On 4/2/1943, Jim enlisted and took his oath as an American soldier, which he said was the proudest moment of his life. Jim served in the 1st Calvary in the Philippine Islands in World War II.

Jim was deeply grateful for what the U.S. Army taught him about life and leadership and he made the most of the educational opportunities offered by the GI Bill. His lengthy education included a BA from University of of Minnesota, Duluth; a Masters in Education at CU (Boulder, CO); and a Doctorate of Education at University of Wyoming (Laramie, WY).  

Jim was passionate about many things. For many years, Jim was a private pilot and loved to take family and friends flying.  He also loved travel, classical music, golfing, church and most of all his family and many lifelong friends.

Jim began his professional career as an assistant professor of secondary education at Arizona State College (now University) in 1955. This is where he met the love of Jim's life, Mittie Mae Berry.  Jim and Mittie were married on 6/3/1956 in Mittie's home town of Miami, Arizona. In 1958, Jim accepted a job to further his career as director of secondary education at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. Their daughter, Karen was born later that same year.  Their son, Mark was born in 1962, the same year Jim was promoted to dean of UW La Crosse's Graduate College. After a re-organization at UW La Crosse, Jim and his family moved west, where he took a job as Dean of Professional Studies at Central Washington University, in Ellensburg, WA. 

CWU's Professional Studies school had 5,000 students and gave Jim the broader qualifications requisite to realize his ambition to become a college president at Northern Montana College in Havre some four years later. Jim and Mittie made many lifelong friends in Havre, and Montana had a special place in both of their hearts.  He fondly remembered barbecues up in the Bear Paws and enjoying the company of their many friends there. Jim retired some seven years after accomplishing most everything he hoped to at NMC.

Jim and Mittie then headed back to where their lives together began, in Arizona, spending winters in the retirement community of Sun Lakes, Arizona and eventually they discovered the beautiful little Dutch town of Lynden, Washington, where they spent the rest of the year. In time, they moved to Lynden full time where they enjoyed golfing and spending time with the wonderful friends they made there.

Jim was preceded in death by Mittie, his wife of 61 years, who passed on 12/28/2017, and their precious daughter, Karen Gouse on 5/5/2017.

They are survived by their son, Mark; and grand children Jasmine Hopkins, Cole Hopkins and Allyson (Erickson) Rochford.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to Montana State University-Nothern's Alumni Foundation.


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