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Mourners, family members, casual acquaintances and business associates stood in line from 2 p.m. until after 9 p.m. to pay their respects to David Erickson's family members and his wife Debi. Due to the heat, bottled water was available both outside in the white coolers and inside to guests. Photo by Margaret A. Ontl

David Erickson remembered...

News River Falls,Wisconsin 54022
Hudson Star Observer
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David Erickson remembered...
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

In a marathon wake at O'Connell Family Funeral Home on Thursday, Aug. 5, over 1,500 people came to pay their respects to the family of David Erickson, a Hudson native and chief executive officer of Erickson Oil Products, Inc./ Freedom Valu Centers. He died July 28 in a motorcycle accident in Montana. Another 750 attended the funeral the next day at Bethel Highlands Lutheran Church.

The wake, which was scheduled from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., started with over 300 people in line before 2 p.m. and guests were still in line after 9 p.m. In an effort to keep people comfortable bottled water was provided both inside and outside.

The entrance was graced with an Erickson Oil truck, which was acquired but never used to deliver the product. Its age, a 1938 Chevy one-ton tank truck coincided closely to when the Erickson family moved to Hudson, which was in 1939. On the opposite side of the entrance, bent willow chairs and a totem pole brought from David Erickson's home welcomed the guests to what was a celebration of his life.

Throughout O'Connell's, guests were able to understand the depth of David Erickson's character and love of family by looking at photos and items from his life such as his business card holder, items from his office along with his hunting vest, cowboy boots and hat. There were three places to view hundreds of photos which were a visual history of Erickson's life and enthusiasm.

Over 100 floral bouquets were sent to the family from other family members, friends, business associates and professional organizations.

For the funeral, the sanctuary at Bethel Highlands filled while over 100 people were seated in the entrance foyer. The presiding minister was the Rev. Dennis R. Nelson. Layton James was the pianist and Colleen Raye was the soloist.

Twelve men served as casketbearers. They were Jim Anderson, Bob Blair, Tom Blair, Darren Forbes, Bob Kolashinski, Scott Madsen, Bill McCarthy, Ric Peterson, Mike Sime, Gary Vander Vorst, Mike Vanderwagon and Mark Campbell.

"It was a real outpouring for the family," said Gary Vander Vorst, executive vice president/CFO of Erickson Oil. Vander Vorst also spoke at the funeral. Signs were posted throughout the funeral home suggesting the family will need support from friends in the weeks to come.