Erik Erikson, patriarch to a large family and a beloved leader of Sveadal, died on January 3, 2009 after a brief illness. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Mary Ann, five children and their families, 13 grandchildren and a new great granddaughter, as well as many other relatives. He seemed related to half of Sveadal and he adopted the whole community as his extended family. In tribute to him the entire community attended a celebration of his life.

The son of Swedish immigrant parents, Erik grew up while many Swedish clubs and activities flourished in the Bay Area. He became a founder of the Sveadal Club, President of SAPL, baritone in the Swedish Singers, and Mason in Balder Lodge. While still at Cal (UC Berkeley) he was drafted into the Seebees during the Korean War. After the war he became a home contractor, later constructing air-supported and tension structures worldwide. These construction and engineering skills defined the man. An avid reader, Erik honed his knowledge and wit, and he passed on his athleticism and sportsmanship to his descendents.

An old, dear friend, Dr. Frank Hoaglund, also born of Swedish immigrants, lived across the street and remembered Erik as a top student and athlete, a devoted family man, and happiest in Sveadal. As boys during Sveadal summers, among redwoods and creeks at the end of a long and dusty dirt road, these two boys and their friends later with spouses and families cherished one another and this special spot. Erik, Frank, Earl and Harry friends for more than half a century met regularly for lunch to reminisce, agreeing on all details. Imagine four old guys with perfect memories! Speaking for a younger generation, the Rev. Mike Harvey remembered being awed in his childhood by this tall man until Erik taught him diving, beginning a long friendship. Surely Erik is in a special neighborhood of heaven reserved for Sveadal.

Cherishing his good nature and humor, everyone pictured him dancing with Mary Ann for so many years on the old Sveadal dance floor he had helped to build, with his unique hug and shuffle step that no one could imitate. But it was watching him and his friends enjoy dancing that taught a whole generation of younger kids to love it. As in everything, he set a standard that will be hard to match.

~TED OLSSON