(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.

Evelyn 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 the craft.

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.

Evelyn 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.

"Our mother 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) Fischer.

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.


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