|(Wednesday - March
10, 2021) - On Friday, February 5, surrounded by her children, Evelyn
Erickson went home to her Heavenly Father.
Evelyn was born
November 7, 1938, in Commonwealth, to Elric and Jennie Friberg. She
graduated valedictorian of her Florence High School class in 1956. After
having met Douglas Erickson, the man who would become her husband,
Evelyn chose Northern Michigan University to continue her education, as
Doug was a student there. She graduated with a B.A. in Music Education
and a certification to teach math.
Evelyn married Douglas on June
13, 1959, forming a union that would last 61 years. She gave birth to
four children - 3 girls and one boy (finally!). She was the best mother
anyone could ask for and was probably about as underrated as they come.
She never touted her achievements or received much attention, although I
can't imagine anyone more deserving. She always carried with her a very
strong sense of duty and responsibility to her family, students,
co-workers, and friends, often at a great personal sacrifice. Many would
be surprised to learn that Evelyn struggled, often mightily, with
multiple sclerosis. She endured several difficult and painful years, but
in time, learned to accept and cope with the limitations M.S. imposed on
her. She taught into the later years of her career in spite of the
difficulties, giving the best she could. Evelyn was someone who would
never let you down, someone who always brought her "A" game, always gave
her best to every endeavor.
Evelyn began her career in music
education in 1961, working part-time conducting the women's glee club
and choir at Manawa High School in Manawa, Wisconsin, as well as
teaching piano lessons. When she became the full-time director of the
Manawa Middle School instrumental music program, she helped her husband,
Douglas, build one of the most successful band programs in the state,
teaching children from their very first day in 5th Grade through their
8th Grade year how to play the instrument of their choice. Evelyn's was
the feeder program for the high school band, and she was critically
instrumental in advancing students into Doug's high school band who were
prepared to meet the challenges of the music Doug required them to play.
Evelyn exemplified the quote, "Behind every great man is a great woman."
Evelyn was a highly-skilled pianist. She was a wonder during the
school's annual solo and ensemble music festivals, accompanying most all
of the high school solo instrumentalists and vocalists for their
adjudicated performances as well as rehearsing several times with each
one of them prior to their performances. She was also known to jump in
and sightread accompaniments for students who hadn't met with her but
needed an accompanist on the spot! She played organ every Sunday, with
very few exceptions, for 30 years at Zion Lutheran Church, and we would
often joke that she "married and buried" just about everyone in Manawa!
As her M.S. progressed and her eyesight became unreliable, Evelyn would
play the liturgical responses and hymns purely by memory.
was such an intelligent and multi-talented woman. Most people don't know
what a renaissance woman she really was. Evelyn was an accomplished
seamstress, making elaborate Halloween costumes (with bunny ears that
actually stood up!), prom dresses from Vogue patterns for her daughter's
Jr. and Sr. proms, and marching uniforms for the high school band
twirlers, just to name a few. She also completed advanced knitting and
crochet projects and especially enjoyed introducing her grandchildren to
She maintained lovely flower gardens from which she
would cut bouquets for our kitchen table and also tended a prolific
vegetable garden. Many a summer night, we would fall asleep to the
hissing of the pressure cooker and Evelyn in the kitchen, canning the
freezing the fruits of her labors. She was an excellent cook and baker
and had a very strong interest in nutrition long before it was
fashionable. Her bread and cinnamon rolls were legendary among her
family and grandchildren. Evelyn was an avid reader, tackling the novels
of Taylor Caldwell and James Michener, among many others. She took up
the Scandinavian folk art of rosemaling, mastering the various painting
techniques necessary to create beautiful works of art. She was also a
champ when it came to completing the New York Times crossword puzzles.
Her grandchildren would often consult her steel-trap memory when they
were stumped in their attempts to complete the puzzles.
was a huge Green Bay Packers fan. She knew Packer history and could
quote Vince Lombardi and the stats of her favorite players. She watched
every televised game when possible and loved to bet in the Packer pools
with her fellow teachers and later with her retired friends. We think
she may have held on a few extra days to make sure she could watch the
Packers-Tampa Bay NFC Championship game.
As impressive as her
intellect and variety of interests were, they were only surpassed by her
sensitive nature and huge heart. Evelyn had a soft spot for stray
animals, and our family always included multiple furry creatures that
she could not turn away from our doorstep.
Evelyn retired in
1990 and moved with Douglas to their lake home on the Spread Eagle Chain
of Lakes in northern Wisconsin, where she cherished time spent with her
children and grandchildren. She also enjoyed re-establishing old
friendships from her childhood and school years and reconnecting with
relatives over Saturday morning coffee at the farm.
made a beautiful home and life for us and we will miss her tremendously.
May her soul rest in peace."
Evelyn is survived by her two
daughters Elyse (Ernest) Karam and Tammy (Norman) Goris, son William
(Wanda) Erickson, son-in-law Mark Fischer and 12 grandchildren. She was
preceded in death by her husband Douglas Erickson, parents Elric and
Jennie Friberg, brother Elric (Elsie) Friberg, and daughter Tanya (Mark)
Funeral services will be announced at a later date.
You may leave a condolence or tribute for Evelyn's family online at:
The family has chosen the Jacobs Funeral Home and Cremation Services
of Iron Mountain to honor Evelyn's legacy of life.