A wonderful party was held at the Swedish American Hall to celebrate Dwayne Erickson’s 80th birthday. The occasion was hosted by Fylgia Lodge, the Swedish Club and the Swedish Society of San Francisco, all in which Dwayne has been involved and considered a longtime valued friend. He is one of the most notable volunteers for many of the major Swedish organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Apart from greeting the guest of honor and other friends, the best part of the evening was hearing about Dwayne’s life through testimonials from everyone, explaining how much the man means to them.

Dwayne grew up on his Idaho family farm raising potatoes and other root vegetables. He left home to join the military where he gained professional skills as an anaplastologist, specializing in creating artificial eyeballs. In retirement he chose to stay in the Bay Area, in Pacifica, just south of San Francisco.
Cherishing his Swedish heritage, he belongs to most of the Swedish organizations here; so he is familiar with many in the community. Everyone knows Dwayne volunteers to help on all occasions. He is always so fit and looks much younger than 80 — with the stamina to match. People noted how he was famous for being the first to set up each occasion and the last to leave after cleaning up.
Susan Bianucci remembered how she first met Dwayne as a fellow delegate at the Swedish American Patriotic League’s meetings. They discovered a mutual enjoyment in walking, which resulted in two decades of monthly treks through San Francisco before each league meeting and additional hikes in the Bay Area and beyond. A cherished postcard reminded her of one hike she and Ramona Talbot took with him when they stopped at a café in the country to surprise him with birthday cake and a skål.
She also noted his remarkable affinity for nature and sharing its secrets with the public on nearby trails; he has become a local hero at the Devil’s Slide Coastal Trail, on the cliffs above the ocean near his home. Dwayne always knows all the plants and which ones are toxic or therapeutic.
Susan’s husband Fred remembered how his wife would often return from those hikes with four cookies, a home-baked gift from Dwayne. They were so delicious that Fred didn’t believe Susan could bring home the whole gift without nibbling on any; so he once asked Dwayne how many cookies he gave Susan, confirming that she had indeed shared all of them with Fred.
Dwayne’s culinary skills were commented upon by many, especially the contingent of friends from Fylgia Lodge. Many of them fondly referred to the lodge’s annual korv fest at Dwayne’s. In late fall before the holidays, members come to his home to create their own potato sausages ("potatiskorv") and dine together on a feast entirely prepared by Dwayne: mashed mixed roots ("rotmos"), sausages, jellies and sauces, as well as his delicious chocolate potato cake with coffee. These iterative descriptions so enticed everyone at this party that it became clear Dwayne will have to prepare this year’s feast for many extra visitors.
Anyone who has visited this genial bachelor’s home has seen samples of many of his talents: the clocks he made; the farm implements he used or rescued; the carpentry of homes as well as the walls of photos; the model trains and other equipment. Even the whimsical tools and toys in his immaculate garden testify to his talents. It is unfortunate that so many of his neighbors — especially their kids, who love “Uncle Dwayne” and whom he has helped to raise — were not present to tell their stories.


Sitting beside Dwayne at the head table were his family, friends and neighbors from his Idaho family home. A cousin reminded him of family tales. A brother and his wife surprised Dwayne by showing up unexpectedly — a tearfully delightful birthday present. He spoke of his beloved older brother, whom they only see during Dwayne’s annual trips to Idaho. A younger sister was so grateful they could all be together for this birthday.
Dwayne is a life member of the Congregational Church, which also celebrated his birthday. Acting on charity, he had recently returned from building a hospital for his church in Africa. Robert Peterson III spoke of Dwayne’s many contributions at church and how his own family has always welcomed Dwayne celebrating Christmas with them. Dwayne has known several generations of the Peterson family for decades, watching the younger ones grow into responsible positions in the Swedish community.
One of Dwayne’s favorite and frequent sayings is, “We have much to be grateful for.” All celebrants agreed that Dwayne himself is one of the many treasures for whom they are thankful.