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Kenneth John Erickson Sr.

February 1, 1933 ~ September 27, 2020 (age 87)



Ken Erickson passed away peacefully on September 27, 2020 in Shoreline, WA.

Born in Seattle, he went to Puyallup High School where he was Student Body President and voted Governor of Boys’ State. He attended University of Washington on a full Naval ROTC scholarship where he studied Journalism and Sociology and served as President of his fraternity, Delta Tau Delta.

Ken married Jane Antoinette Donovan, or Toni, on September 12, 1959. Toni joined him for an adventure in the US Navy where he completed over 100 aircraft carrier landings and later learned fluent Russian and joined Naval Intelligence. At the close of his 10-year naval career, Ken had earned the rank of Lieutenant Commander and was working out of Japan on covert missions he couldn’t share with his family until forty years later. Following the Navy, he flew for United Airlines until he retired in 2004. Over those years, he stayed busy with other ventures as a commercial real estate broker, substitute teacher, investor, and law student. He started so many entrepreneurial ventures, his longtime banker dubbed him “Old-What’s-His-Job”. Somewhere in there, Ken was awarded several US patents, including a valve design that allowed fleet truck tires to be quickly inflated to optimal pressure.

Ken enjoyed tennis and golf. He played many of the top golf courses on the West Coast, but was always happy to come home and play with his friends, “The Duffers.” He also had a life-long love of fishing; he had his favorite spots in rivers from northern California to southern Alaska and throughout the waters of Puget Sound.

Ken and Toni raised 10 children in their 52-year marriage. Over those years Toni worked as a registered nurse and midwife. She passed away in 2012 of ALS. Ken was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather, boasting 25 grandchildren and great grandchildren. In addition to these, he is survived by many lifelong friends; three sisters: Joan, Kris, and Judy; and by nine children: Jane, Ken, Kristy, Jeff, Pete, Peg, Anna, John, and Kari. He is preceded in death by his parents, Maria and Dr. Irwin Erickson, and his sister Annamarie. His son, Tim, passed away in 2018.

A lifelong Catholic, Ken, Toni and the kids took up their own pew on Sunday mornings at Sacred Heart church in Enumclaw. Ken was nonetheless fascinated by Eastern philosophy and could be heard questioning his kids, “how do we know that I am not simply a butterfly dreaming that I am a human?”

Ken’s life will be celebrated in an intimate ceremony later this year at Krain Cemetery in Enumclaw where he will be laid to rest next to his beloved wife, Toni; mother, Marie; and son, Tim.

Ken’s family asks that donations in his name be made to the ALS Foundation.

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