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John Erickson

Sep 4, 1939 - Oct 30, 2017
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John Robert Erickson, 78, died on Monday, October 30, 2017 at Avalon Care Center in Pullman, Washington. He was born September 4th, 1939 to Robert Erickson and Amy (Smith) Erickson in Flaxton, North Dakota. At the age of 10, along with his sister Florence, the family moved to Thorp, Washington. Growing up in small farming communities played a large part in John’s formative years. He eagerly helped out Thorp-area farmers whenever he could, and spent a high school summer break living and working on his uncle Stanley’s farm in North Dakota.

After attending Central Washington State College for a year, John served a two-year Army enlistment in Europe. He then transferred to Washington State University and graduated with the class of 1963, being named the WSU College of Agriculture’s “Aggie of the Year”. He was awarded a graduate study fellowship at North Dakota State University, and in 1966 completed a PhD in Agronomy.
Upon graduation, John was employed with the USDA in Chico, California. He later returned to NDSU, accepting a research faculty position. While at NDSU, John was instrumental in the development of Roughrider, the first winter wheat variety ever released by the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station. The Roughrider variety’s particular suitability for the growing conditions of western North Dakota and eastern Montana led to its continued production for more than 30 years following its initial release. During his time at NDSU, he was part of a group that toured the then-Soviet Union’s agricultural regions in a program of international scientific cooperation. John later moved into private sector employment with DeKalb AgResearch in Wichita, Kansas and Hastings, Nebraska; and later with HybriTech Seed Intl. in Wichita, as Research Director of the hybrid wheat program.
Following retirement, John relocated to Yakima to be close to his mother, Amy. During his years in Yakima, he was a member of the Gideons Yakima camp, served on the board of Living Care in Yakima, and was a member of Yakima Alliance Church. In 2015 John moved back to the Palouse region of eastern Washington and northern Idaho to live near his son, Joel.
Dad was a voracious reader of nonfiction, an enthusiastic history buff, and enjoyed classic country and western music. He had a keen interest in politics and could hold his own with anyone in an exchange of views. Dad enjoyed road trips (he preferred to never take the same road twice) and chose train travel whenever possible. In his prime, he was a reliable sixth man on the Thorp HS basketball team and a formidable opponent across many a ping-pong table. Dad was dedicated to his family, his co-workers, and the many friends he made throughout his travels. He was dedicated to supporting the work of his church and to the distribution of God’s Word.
John is survived by his sister Florence Foster, sons, Carl (Anna) Erickson and Joel Erickson, and grandchildren - Alexander, Victor, and Alisa. 
A Graveside Service will be held on Friday, November 3, 2017 at 2:00 pm at the High Valley Cemetery (2521 Robinson Canyon Rd., Ellensburg, WA 98926), there will be a gathering following the service at the Mercer Creek Church (1407 N. B St., Ellensburg).

Funeral Information

Funeral service

Nov 3, 2017:2:00 PM




High Valley Cemetery