Leora Mae “Orie” Erickson (Kremin), 79, passed away unexpectedly after a brief illness Thursday November 29 in Mesa, Ariz. where she spent her winters. Her summer home was in Brainerd.
Orie was born August 15, 1933 in Underwood Township, Redwood County. Her younger years were spent on the family farm west of Vesta. She was the youngest of seven children born during the depths of the depression. One of her favorite memories was the five cents a week she earned to be the child to step off the school bus and look down the railroad track before the bus crossed. During her middle school years her father retired from farming, and the family moved into Vesta. She graduated from Redwood Falls High School in 1950. Because of the distance she boarded in Redwood Falls during the week.
She studied primary school education at Mankato State University, and following graduation she went to Fulda to teach second graders starting in 1953.
There she met a WWII and Korean War Vet 10 years her elder who was also at his first teaching job, and he swept her off her feet. She and Bill eloped to Iowa and were married February 20, 1954. Since at that time you could not be married and teach, the marriage was kept secret except for a few friends until the end of the school year when she resigned her teaching position.
Jill Ann Erickson was born March 22, 1956 in Slayton. The family moved to Litchfield in 1957 where Bill would teach for the next 26 years. Jay Stewart Erickson was born December 8, 1959 in Litchfield. Orie was very active in all aspects of the community in Litchfield and with her church, First Lutheran Church. She went back to teaching as the children were raised. She and Bill took 20 high school students for a month long trip, witnessing their Christian faith behind the Iron Curtain in 1974. The Erickson house was filled with books and a love of learning and teaching, which they passed to their children. Their daughter, Jill, is a teacher in the Crosby-Ironton School District in Minnesota and son, Jay, is an assistant dean with the University of Washington School of Medicine in Whitefish, Mont.
Orie and Bill moved to Brainerd in 2002 to be closer to their daughter, Jill. She and Bill made the most of retirement, participating in more than 20 elder hostels and more than 15 cruises.
They enjoyed a lake place on Crow Wing Lake near Brainerd, and for a number of years have called Mesa their winter home. She and Bill enjoy a special community of friends at Woodland Good Samaritan in Brainerd and at Sun Valley Casitas West in Mesa.
The love of Orie’s life was her family. She enjoyed 58 years of wonderful marriage to Bill. She and Bill were a constant fixture together and were always willing to volunteer, lend a hand and be everyone’s friend.
Page 2 of 2 - She was a woman of very strong faith and loved the Lord her God with all her heart.
She was preceded in death by her parents and her older siblings.
She loved all of her 25 nieces and nephews.
She is survived by Willard “Bill” Erickson her husband of 58 years; daughter Jill Erickson of Ironton and her children Zachary Erickson of Ironton and Amelia Erickson of Duluth and son Jay Erickson and his wife Meg of Whitefish, Montana and his sons Anfin Erickson and wife Karli of Bozeman, Mont. and William Erickson of Whitefish, Mont.
A celebration of Orie’s life is planned for Summer 2013. Please contact son Jay Erickson for details: email@example.com. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be considered to: Good Samaritan Society – Woodland, 100 Buffalo Hills Ln. E, Brainerd, MN 56401.