Submitted by Frieda Erickson
Oro Valley, AZ – David John “Eric” Erickson died on Tuesday, October 6, 2015, in Oro Valley. Eric was born August 14, 1943, in Cheyenne, Wyoming to parents Harold Erickson and Martha Leefers Erickson. He grew up in Cheyenne and graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1966 with a degree in mathematics. Pursuing his childhood dream of flying, Eric joined the U.S. Air Force and became a pilot. He served in Vietnam before being recruited to join the Ravens, an elite group of pilots who flew extremely dangerous and covert forward air control missions in Laos during the Vietnam War. During his service, he received a Purple Heart and two Air Medals. After his time in the Ravens, Eric joined the Flying Tigers Line, which was later acquired by Federal Express. He rose to the rank of Captain, and continued to fly internationally until he retired in 2003.
Eric lived for many years near Spokane, Washington, before moving to Alaska. He spent most of his retirement in the land of the midnight sun, splitting his time between Wolf Lake and Seldovia. Retirement did not lessen his love of flying and it did not keep him out of the cockpit. Eric loved nothing more than showing off the beauty of Alaska to friends and family while flying his beloved Cessna. Never one to sit still for long or to pass up an adventure, Eric flew for the Iditarod Air Force transporting mushers, sled dogs, and supplies along the 1,100 mile trail between Anchorage and Nome. He also flew humanitarian relief missions for the United Nations in the African country of Chad. Eric eventually traded in his wings for wheels, and he and his wife Frieda spent the past several summers exploring the “lower 48” in their motor coach. They began spending winters in Oro Valley in 2014.
Eric will be remembered fondly by all who knew him for his sense of humor, his catch phrases for every situation, his love of family, his loyalty to friends, his patriotism, and his adventurous spirit.
Preceding Eric in death is his first wife, Joyce Erickson; his parents, Harold and Martha Erickson; his brother, Harold Erickson; a stepson, Lonnie Shippy; and a stepson-in-law, David Semmler.
Surviving is his wife and best friend, Frieda Erickson; daughter, Amy Erickson (Quentin Vaughan) of Livermore, CA; son, Eric Erickson (Ashley McCloud) of Sioux Falls, SD; stepdaughter, Tonya Semmler of Littleton, CO; five grandchildren, Ingrid Vaughan, Nate, Nicole, Seth and Paige Semmler; sister, Nora Heaton (John) of Ft. Collins, CO; and many nieces and nephews.
The family will hold a private memorial. Memorial contributions may be made in Eric’s name to the Seldovia Bible Chapel, P.O. Box 256, Seldovia, AK 99663 or the Arizona Fisher House (www.arizonafisherhouse.org).