In Memory


Jon (Jon-Jon) Randolph Erickson, August 25, 1944 – April 25, 2016

Jon was born to the late Myles and June Erickson and grew up in Los Altos, California. He moved to Lake Tahoe where he was on the ski patrol at Alpine Meadows and was recognized as one of the area’s most accomplished and graceful skiers, earning him the nickname, “Stein,” and first place in many NASTAR events. In 1973 he moved his family to Sandpoint, Idaho and with two friends, started The North Country, a sporting goods store located on North Boyer. He worked on the ski patrol at Schweitzer Mountain and, as a carpenter, he helped build many beautiful homes and the Cedar Street Bridge. He also worked for Coldwater Creek.

Jon was a creative free spirit and enjoyed hiking, camping, huckleberry picking, irises, biking, soccer, antiquing, thrift stores, music, his old Volkswagen and his home in the Selle Valley.

He is survived by his daughters, Eiron Morash and Erika Erickson, his sisters, Joan (Steve) Ellsworth and Jean (Alan) Powell, his grandchildren, Kailey and Kaden Morash, nieces and nephews, Jennifer Hill, Jeff Ellsworth, Courtney Remmenga and Erickson Powell, his best friend, Susan Keating and her children, Scarlett, Ben and Pam. The family is thankful for the care given by the staff at the Life Care Center.

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05/20/16 09:04 AM #3    

John Beaton

It is warm and clear in Beijing, surprisingly clear and waking before 5am is a pleasure.  Seeing the massive buildings of this extraordinary city-of-moment from the 23rd floor of the hotel on a fresh morning is a treat. For me, there will be a couple of days, starting today, where meetings with government will be pretty intense but things are in order and I am looking forward to engaging with the Chinese. Life is good.  At 5:01am I check my email and learn that Jon Ericson has died. Damn. Damn!

Jon Erickson was my first friend in Los Altos when my family moved to Palm Avenue in 1956.  For several years he was my best friend, my first best friend, and a person only ever gets one of those. My family lived in a modest little two-bedroom house, number 37, directly across Palm Ave from the Erickson family who occupied a rather fine old Los Altos home, number 50, that perched on two ¼ acre blocks.  The house faced the quiet “T” intersection of Palm Ave and Lee Street and the architect had thoughtfully placed the “H” shaped Ericson home at a forty-five degree angle to both those streets so that it could greet friends from any direction.  And it did. I saw the house as almost grand, certainly solid and warm and worthy and inviting.  All those things, and in it most fittingly lived the Ericksons, Jean, Joan, Jon, June and Myles, in alphabetical order and co-incidentally in reverse age order too. I quietly wondered how Myles managed in that family without a “J” to begin his name. I guessed he was tolerated because he was a fine gentleman in spite of that little failing. Of sturdy Swedish stock Myles was an aeronautical engineer who worked at AMES, the people who brought us all those sonic booms from Moffat Field at pretty regular intervals. Myles was also outdoorsy, a man who loved his fishing and hunting, and to boys like Jon and me a classical great dad, and June was no less a great mother. I deeply admired and came to love and be reasonably close to the parents when after high school Jon left home, my parents moved away, and I moved in to Jon’s room in that fine home.

In the late 1950’s Los Altos was a form of paradise for kids like us.  Bicycles, baseball, Clint’s Ice Cream, cutting ‘cots, endless ping-pong and Monopoly games, sneaking into Adobe Creek Lodge and feasting on company picnics to which we were not invited, catching trout in Adobe Creek, swimming in the Drieschmann’s pool, and dreading the appearance of the “Back to School” signs that appeared in shop windows in late summer. We all watched and wondered as our personalities developed, or were exposed. It was a time of great wonder.  For Jon, it seemed an easy transition, at least to me.  I was proved wrong.

From the beginning Jon was a kind person, in general, and kind to me, the new kid on the block.  I recall joining his Friends of Animals Club. It met rarely. He had friends in the neighborhood, if you could call it that. You couldn’t quite hit Pat Going’s or Ken DeFreese’s homes with a rock (lucky for them), and Scott Drieschmann lived a little bit further away on the then quiet road that later became the main route to Foothill College.  Chris Bickford lived on Orange Ave in the other direction, toward El Retiro , and Jack Wohler lived a little stretch down Palm Ave toward town.  On the only other corner of the Palm/Lee “T” intersection lived the Lewis family, their boys Keith, Scott and Mark bracketed the class of ’62, Keith and Scott being older, and Mark a year younger, but they were influential in the area.  Jon and I had more to do with Mark than the older boys.  In all of this there were many young neighborhood boys, but no girls. Jon’s sister Jean was far too young to take much notice of, just a kid really, but Joan was not too young and terribly attractive, but she was Jon’s sister and well that was enough for a firewall to be set in place. Joan was off limits. Well, actually, there was one, a girl who did not appear at LAHS. She had an interest in boys, and in Jon especially.  The loft above the Erickson garage, where the Friends of Animals met, became the kissing zone where the experiments in kissing (not the kissing of your grandmother type) were conducted with whatever passed for decorum and innocence prevailed. Jon, as the resident, was leader and no one was harmed or humiliated. It was child’s play, the kind of thing played out everywhere in the world, and forever.  This was our chance.  We’d all had various degrees of the prescribed dose of Christian rectitude at the time, and perhaps that is why we all knew the difference between right and wrong. Whatever, there was a sort of decency about our experimentation in kissing, in keeping with the Erickson’s home and reputation. Still, we were damned glad no parent ever caught us at this. We were thirteen years old.

In our high school years Jon was better integrated than many others, certainly much better than some of us.  He was attractive to the girls and respected by the guys.  An effective football running back, a middle distance runner and an increasingly accomplished skier, Jon grew in confidence.  I never heard anyone say a derogatory thing about him, making him a pretty rare individual at LAHS.

As we approached graduation, I noticed a change in Jon, a surprising one. While he maintained interest in his passions and his generosity was unabated, he gained an edginess, borne perhaps in anxiety and frustration. Who knows? Whatever its origins, Jon took up a cause. Human rights, in particular the rights of teen-agers. This was the first political utterance I had heard from a peer.  I was impressed and surprised in equal measure.  Jon Erickson, comfortable in his accomplishments, supported by the perfect family, headed for a happy and fulfilling life was in rebellion? He certainly was, pressing away at an issue that I did not know even existed.  Sometimes agitated and angst-ridden he was unreachable, at least to me, perhaps engaging in the separation ritual that young people express in many different ways when preparing to leave home. I did not fully understand it. I do not pretend to now, but Jon Erickson had changed, and we were no longer boys together.

After graduation I think I only saw Jon once more, appropriately in his family home on Palm Avenue. He had married and had children. I noted then that he had an advance on me, as ever.  It is fair, I think, to say that Jon at that meeting was if not distant, then at least reserved, as if not wanting to rekindle an old friendship, no matter its priority.  I was saddened by that.  Jon didn’t need my friendship, and maybe he never really did. He was his own man, with his own needs and passions. One of his passions was to possess a powder-blue Volkswagen beetle.  He may have had many VDub beetles over the years. I hope at least one of them was powder-blue.  I have not been close with Jon for fifty-five years, and one might be forgiven for thinking that is long enough to just let it go. But it isn’t.  Jon was important to me and I am not sure I ever thanked him.  I do now.  Vale, Jon Erickson.



05/20/16 11:26 AM #4    

Francie Mecia (Krauel)

John Beaton--really thoughtful and well-written.  Thank you for writing so beautifully about one of our classmates.

05/20/16 11:54 AM #5    

Sandra Egan (Francis)

I have great memories of Jon from High School.  I am sorry for your loss but happy that you were able to share so much if your life with this good man.  Sandy Egan Francis

05/20/16 11:44 PM #6    

Virginia Small (Chambers)

Thanks, John, for sharing your many and varied thoughts and memories of Jon.  As you said, I never heard an negative comment about him.  He seemed like a good and kind guy, though I never really knew him.  Another sad loss to our class.   Jon will be missed by many of us.  Ginni

05/21/16 07:14 AM #7    

Steven Moulds


How beautifully written John. You captured not only Jon, but in a real sense a vision of a time in history we all shared. We are all fortunate to have experienced it, even as we watched the rapid transformation of the "Valley of Hearts Delight" to Silicon Valley. 




05/21/16 01:56 PM #8    

Stephanie Ashby (Chapple)

John B.  What a great post.  You said it all!!!

I do remember drinking grain acohol with Jon, what a bad girl I was!!!

We had some fun times.... Stephie

05/21/16 06:14 PM #9    

Monique Rabier (Moss)

So sad to hear about Jon.  He seemed to be full of live and truly enjoyed what he did.  My deepest sympathy to his family!  Monique







05/22/16 07:21 AM #10    

Marc Lorenzen

I agree.. John B.  That was a fantastic memorial.  I remember going sking for the first time in my life and Jon took me to the top of the mountain and said "you go down hill.  See you later." More fun times were at Jon's house.  I think there was a pre-party grad night and Stephanie, you were my date (or I was yours).  You weren't nearly bad enough!

05/22/16 09:30 AM #11    

Scott Dreischman

Jon was my best friend growing up. Over the years we grew apart as many people do but I often thought of him. It ws a number of years ago I was passing through Sandpoint, Idaho and gave him a call. We met for breakfast. In walks Jon looking like a mountain man I always thought he wanted to be. We had a good breakfast and talked of old times. Many of you may not know this but after high school Jon and I got together and did a road trip to Georgetown, Colorado were we lived for several years.  We were always broke and looking for jobs. Jon was inventive. He made himself a historic guide for the town and charged tourist for tours. At the end of each tour he passed out square nails he raided from the old mine buildings in the mountains. In the winter we worked the ski areas. So many memories from childhood through those years in Colorado.

John Beaton said it all and far better then I could. Thanks John for those memories but you could of left the kissing out. After all what if our parent found out!

I will miss Jon as I miss so many people from those years in Los Altos.

Rest in Peace my friend, It was great run!

05/22/16 02:18 PM #12    

Barbara Joy (Schmidt)

Thank you, John Beaton, for your thoughtful tribute to Jon. I am impressed with your vivid memories. I have read and re read your words, and many memories of Jon have come back to me.  I had great fun on the ski slopes with Jon, in our High School years. I also can picture Jon's "grand" house. Myles and June were good friends of my parents. In fact, Myles and June kept a grand piano for me, that I had inherited as a teen. It seems to me it was there for years, until I had room for it.  Then, there are the memories that I think I won't share, because they might be incriminating.  I feel reassured that Jon led the life that fit for him. I remember that he was not a happy student in class.  I love his Mountain Man photo.  May you  rest in peace Jon, knowing that you are loved and remembered. Barbara

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