Donald Laverne Erickson, of Fairbanks, passed away March 3, 2013, of natural causes at age 73. Don was born Aug. 26, 1939, in Shevlin, Minn. He grew up and attended schools in Pinewood, Wilton and Bemidji, Minn.
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His fondest memories and stories told were of times he spent working hard on his Grandpa Bruun's farm in Pinewood, with numerous cousins and other family members. He left Minnesota in 1955 and joined the Navy, primarily serving on the USS Forrestal aircraft carrier.
His naval career brought him many adventures around the world, living in places such as Japan, Norfolk, Va., and St. Cloud, Minn. After retirement from his 22-year career with the Navy, he and his family moved to Fairbanks. In the early 1980s, he put his cooking skills - obtained during the years on the ships - to use at a camp on the Dalton Highway serving many operators and truck drivers. He then began a much loved 23-year career at Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service, as an inventory management specialist, until his retirement.
Don's greatest pride and joy came from serving multiple roles in Toastmasters of Alaska, from April 1, 1995, until his passing. He held positions such as governor for Yukon Alaska Council of Toastmasters for two years (which includes all 30-plus clubs in Alaska and the Yukon Territory), and area governor, and club positions of president, vice president of education, secretary, judge, and most of all, mentor for many toastmasters.
Don achieved the highest ranking title of distinguished toastmaster. He loved his toastmaster family and was so proud to be involved with an amazing group of people.
Don was a patriotic, joyful, big hearted, kind, sincere man, always willing to help and serve others. He took great pride in his family and friends. He chose to live in a selfless manner, always giving and assisting others.
Don is survived by his son, Warren and Sheilah Erickson; step-son, Jody and Michelle Littell; step-daughter, LeRay Littell; grandsons, Taylor, Jaden and Jarren; dear friend, Marcia Boyette; sisters, Jeanie and Joe Conlon, Linda and Mike Claypool; brothers, Davey and Danny Erickson; nieces and nephews, Jim and Royce Conlon, Jerry and Shannon Winner-Conlon, Jody and Jason Thomas, Ken and Wanda Roff, Tim and JoAnne Roff, Evan and Lauri Claypool, Cort and Joyce Claypool, Andrea and Travis Haefner, DessaRae Erickson, Alex Erickson; and numerous great-nieces, nephews, cousins and friends who adored him.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Clara Regina (Bruun) Erickson, in May 2008; and father, Leonard Emil Erickson, in April 1994.
Services and celebration of his life will be from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, March 10, 2013, at Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home. The family requests, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to a memorial account for Donald L. Erickson, at MAC Federal Credit Union. Special thanks to Chapel of Chimes funeral home for coordinating arrangements.
Published in Daily News-Miner on Mar. 7, 2013