Jane Antoinette (Toni) Erickson, RNLM, passed away at age 74 on April 6th, 2012 on Good Friday, under a full moon at her home in Enumclaw, Washington. She spent her final days surrounded by loving family.
Toni was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on February 2, 1938 to William Wallace Taylor and Kathryn Jane Hurst. Toni's mother later married Emmett Donovan who adopted Toni and her sister Tinker. As Emmett's daughter Toni converted to Roman Catholicism where she found her lifelong spiritual home. Toni attended Bishop McGinnis High School in Oklahoma City and then received her RN from Saint Anthony's School of Nursing. She specialized in labor and delivery. In caring for mothers and their babies Toni found her life's vocation.
She married Kenneth John Erickson, a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, whom she met on a blind date, soon after finishing nursing school. The navy moved Ken and Toni to Florida, Maryland, Japan, and California. During those exciting years they bore six children. Toni's growing family became the centerpiece of her world and a focus of her love and energy.
Ken left the navy to pilot planes for United Airlines and the family settled in the San Francisco Bay Area. They relocated to Enumclaw in 1976, where they have lived for the past 35 years. During these years, Ken and Toni bore three more children and adopted one. They have 10 children and 22 grandchildren.
In Enumclaw, Toni continued to care for women and babies. She worked as a nurse at Enumclaw Memorial Hospital, taught childbirth education classes and in 1990, at age 52; she graduated from the Seattle Midwifery School and established the Enumclaw Midwives practice. She would go on to care for countless women through their children's birth and well beyond, single-handedly delivering over 1, 500 children in the Enumclaw plateau region. She is a true treasure and legend in the fields of childbirth education, OB nursing and midwifery.
As a wife and mother, a mentor, a friend, and a caregiver of women and babies, Toni touched many thousands of lives. She overflowed with a spirit of giving. Her reaction to any challenge was to give her best effort and love.
As a testament to that love, when Lou Gehrig's disease pulled Toni away from her work as a nurse and midwife at age 71, her clients came together by the hundreds to share stories and pose for a group photo. Her loving husband and children pulled together to care for her at home. Priests, who had long ago moved to other parishes, returned to pray with her. The local hospital dedicated a birthing room to her and, hung at the entrance to its chapel, beautiful art inscribed with Toni's words: "Peace and Healing to All Who Enter Here."
Toni is preceded in death by her parents Kathryn "Janie" and Emmett Donovan and Bill Taylor; parents-in-law Marie and Irwin Erickson; and her sister Tinker Richards.
She is survived by her husband Kenneth John Erickson; their children Jane Marie (Jay Krohn); Kenneth John, Jr. (Laura); Kristy Karen (Steve Smith); Jeffrey Michael (Sylvia); Peter Gregory (Sabrina); Margaret Theresa (Mike Giosso); Timothy Jude (Mandy); John Robert; Anna Magdelene; Kari Kathryn (Carlos Valenzuela); and their families; her brothers William Taylor, V., of Plano, TX, Regan Taylor (Lynn) of Plano, TX and Tracy Taylor of Brenham, TX and countless nieces, nephews, honorary children and grandchildren, and more friends than we can count. She loved them all.
Remembrances may be made in Toni's name to:Department of Midwifery and Simkin Center at Bastyr University 14500 Juanita Drive NE, Kenmore, WA 98028 or to the ALS Association at www.alsa.org