Gerald Leland Ericksen "Together again"
Gerald Leland Ericksen, our loving and ever-cheerful father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, died peacefully January 9, 2011, at 96 years of age.He was born March 17, 1914, in Mt. Pleasant, Utah, to Erick Henry and Annie Christina Monsen Ericksen, the youngest of nine children. His father died when Jerry was 14 years old, just before the Great Depression hit. He and his widowed mother struggled through the depression together. Jerry never made excuses or felt his life was hard, but faced each day with optimism and smiled as he moved forward. Jerry never met a stranger and was a born leader, serving as the president of his high school, Snow College, and in many leadership positions throughout his long and productive life. He graduated from BYU and then started graduate work at the Yale Divinity School in the fall of 1941. His education was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II and he served as an Army Chaplain in the Pacific theater, including extensive service on the island of Saipan. He was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service. After the war he was recruited into the life insurance business by Sterling W. Sill. He was the General Manager of the Utah Office of the New York Life Insurance Company for 20 years. Jerry married the love of his life, Erna Mary Sconberg, July 8, 1942, in San Francisco, California, while he was in training on an army base. They had met two years earlier at the Grand Canyon, where he was a bell hop and played trombone in the band, and she was a waitress. Their marriage was solemnized the following year in the Salt Lake Temple. Jerry's professional work took them to New York, California, and then back to Utah. They had been married for 66 years when Erna died March 13, 2009. He always treated her like a queen, and called her his "livin'doll." Their love and consideration for each other was an inspiration to their family, and to all who knew them. Jerry loved the Savior and served in many capacities in the LDS Church, including as a missionary in the Southern States Mission from 1935 to 1937, and as president of the Salt Lake Emigration Stake. Upon his retirement from New York Life he and Erna presided over the Connecticut Hartford Mission from 1979 to 1982. They loved New England and their missionaries, and treasured those relationships the rest of their lives. At age 83 Jerry was called into a bishopric for the first time in his life, and served for six years. In all of his assignments his smile, sense of humor, organized approach, and love for people made him effective in his work, and loved by those who knew him. Jerry was preceded in death by his parents and siblings, his wife, daughter Mimi Ericksen, and son Robert Ericksen, who died three days before Jerry's passing. He is survived by three of his children: Karen (David) Fuhriman, David (Irene) Ericksen, and Eric (Kathy) Ericksen, as well as 14 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. A funeral service will be held Saturday, January 15, 2011, at 1:30 p.m. at the Federal Heights Ward chapel located at 1300 East Fairfax Road. Friends may call Friday, January 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Larkin Mortuary at 260 East South Temple, as well as at the ward prior to the service, from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. Interment will be at the Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park, 3401 South Highland Drive. The family wishes to thank the VA Nursing Home for their care of our father, as well as Frankie Loftus and Dr. Jane McPherson of Utah Hospice Specialists.