May 28, 1945 - March 12, 2013
Jim was born to Doris and Eldon Erickson in Tacoma, WA and was raised in San Jose, CA. He played guard for the Willow Glen High Rams, during the Rams' 48 consecutive football game win streak, with no ties, no losses. Jim graduated from UC Berkeley in 1967, was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force and served 3.5 years in the Minutemen Missile Control Center of North Dakota. Jim left the service as a Captain and with a Master's Degree from UND in Public Administration in 1970. Jim was the third generation to serve in the military. His grandfather fought in WWI, his father in WWII, and Jim served during Vietnam.
A 40 year career in City Management began in Vacaville, where he served as the Assistant City Manager. It was here that he met his wife Patti, and an incredible 37 year marriage followed. Jim served as City Manager in Folsom for 7 years, Millbrae for 22 years, and Benicia for 8 years. The opportunity to work with dedicated people and help ensure well governed cities, made all those late night council meetings tolerable.
In each community he worked, he also offered service through his participation and leadership as President in Folsom Lions and Millbrae Rotary clubs and member in Vacaville and Benicia Rotary. He parked cars for the Folsom Rodeo, created 5k Fun Runs and High School Football "Big Game" luncheons in Millbrae, to honor the two local high school teams and their coaches, poured many a glass of wine or beer at fundraising events, and was set up and cleanup crew on countless dinners, auctions, and street fairs. A special source of pride was his work as a mentor at Liberty High School in Benicia and as an Honorary Commander at Travis Air Force Base.
Jim was a man of great faith, beginning in the First Covenant Church of San Jose, and later joining the Catholic Church. He was a man of great discipline, running 3 miles every day, lifting weights every other day. Even as disease made these activities impossible, he still did his recommended exercises daily. He was a man who loved CAL football, a season ticket holder for 36 years; this fondness was inherited from his father who played in the CAL marching band.
Jim leaves behind a legacy of impressive public and community service, but what brought him the most joy was his loving family: his adoring wife of 37 years, Patti and their children; Christina, Mark, Emily and Katherine. Together this family thrived with annual family vacations across the United States, family dinners, and religious celebrations. Thanks to Leo Sommaripa and Serene Davis Erickson the family tree continues to grow, with one grandchild Leila, and two more on the way. Jim is also survived by his brother Chris and his wife Marilyn, his in-laws, Mil and Matt O'Gara and 11 sisters and brother's in-law, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Our thanks go out to the Veteran's Administration who so attentively supported Jim through this disease with medical equipment and advice; the ALS Forbes Norris Research Center in SF where Jim participated in medical trials; and to the Vallejo Kaiser Hospice Program that guided us on his final journey home.
Jim's hopes and goals were to live a life of integrity, of deep faith, of strong sense of purpose, and great humility. Those of us lucky to know him, can attest to how well he achieved those goals. He will be sorely missed.
A vigil service will be held on Friday, March 15, at 7:30pm at St. Dominic's Church, Benicia with a Funeral Mass on Saturda March 16th at 1:00pm at St. Dominic's Church, Benicia. Arrangements are under the direction of Passalacqua Funeral Chapel, Benicia. Please visit the online tribute at www.passalacquafuneralchapel.com
Passalacqua Funeral Chapel, 707-745-3130