Harry Douglas Erickson passed away on Feb. 14, 2013. He was born June 21, 1931 in Waukesha, Wis. to Harold and Dorothy (Andrews) Erickson. He was the third son of eight boys. Around the age of 2 and one half, he moved to Markville, Minn. He graduated from high school in Sandstone, Minn. in 1950. Harry moved to Montana in 1954 to work as a pipeline welder.
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Harry and Lois Porter were married on July 2, 1955. They were married 57 years. In those loving years four boys Mark, Monty, Matt and Miles came along with multiple adventures.
In order to provide for his family Harry worked a pattern of six months on and six months at school. He worked as pipeline welder in 46 states. His passion for teaching began as a Pipefitter Apprentice Instructor for Local 30 in Billings. Harry completed his Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education in 1963 at Eastern Montana College. In the fall of 1963, Laurel was lucky enough to have Harry start as the junior high life science teacher. He taught in Laurel for seven years with a one year break to attain his master's degree of education with a biology emphasis at Oregon State University. In 1971, the family moved to Deer Lodge. Here Harry worked at the state prison to help with the Man Power Development Training Program. While working in Deer Lodge, Harry also attended classes to obtain a school administrator certificate. The next phase of Harry's teaching career started when he accepted the superintendent position in Baker, Mont. in 1973. Harry held the position as superintendent of Baker schools for seven years until he took the position in Belgrade The family moved to Belgrade in 1980. He retired from the superintendent position in 2001. During his tenure of office for Belgrade he oversaw multiple changes. The changes included going from a small Class B to a large A school system. With the increase in the number of students this meant space for student population needed to increase as well. Harry aided in the building of an addition to the Intermediate school, a new middle school, and River Rock School. The Special Events Center, Auditorium conversion, new Bus Barn, and admin building conversion were major structural projects completed under Harry's encouragement. Harry was a constant presence in the schools for his students and teachers, and spent numerous hours in Helena to lobby support for education. He earned recognition for efforts in education by being awarded Montana Superintendent of the Year in 1996. For all his accomplishments Harry was a modest man. He took greater pride in watching someone he mentored succeed. Harry was a lifetime educator.
Retirement only opened up more time in his schedule to further serve his community and church. The Lions Club was one of many civic groups that benefited from his services. For more than 19 years, he served as the Financial Secretary of the Missouri Headwaters Council and was still an active member of the Knights of Columbus.
H. D. may have been reserved in his own accolades, bias he was not in discussing the Twins, Vikings and Lakers. He was an outdoors enthusiast. Harry loved his family and enjoyed camping and hunting; hunting every season with every tag from Long Pines to Taylor Fork with his boys. Each hunting trip was made special with an individual sack lunch. Never a camping trip he wasn't leading the crew with all the gear and supplies, always prepared for any situation or expected occasion. All necessities could be found stocked in his Ford pickup. Even the morning of his passing; Harry was starting his regular routine of taking the garbage out, showering, shaving and standing on his head. To the last minute Harry was a gentleman and true family man.
Harry is survived by: his wife Lois; sons Mark (Kenlynn) Erickson of Belgrade, Monty (Irene) Erickson of Sarpy Creek, Mont., Matt (Kara) Erickson of Miles City, and Miles (Donna) Erickson of Belgrade; grandchildren Danielle, Mark, Cody, Trey, Thayne, Parker, Robert, Zak, Amanda, and Aarika; and great-grandchildren Brayden, Easton, Jaxson, Beckham, Kaydence, Hudson, and Jordan.
Harry was preceded in death by: his father Harold Erickson; mother Dorothy Erickson, brother Raymond Erickson, granddaughter Katlynn Erickson and great grandson Cashton Erickson.
A rosary will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 at Valley of Flowers Catholic Church in Belgrade followed by a wake at 7 p.m. in the Belgrade High School Auditorium. A funeral mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 at Valley of Flowers Catholic Church. Interment will take place at 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 at Calvary Cemetery in Miles City.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.dahlcares.com.
Dahl Funeral Chapel
300 Highland Boulevard Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Feb. 17, 2013