The Morgan School District and the State of Utah lost a great advocate for public education with the passing of Dr. K. Earl Ericksen. Earl was a man of conviction who devoted a majority of his adult life to our youth and the educational systems that served them.
Since 1993, Earl has been an elected representative on the Morgan County School District Board of Education. Until recently, he had never missed a regularly scheduled meeting of the Board. He has lead in a number of capacities including board chairman and vice-chairman. He generally had a smile on his face and a chuckle in his voice. His reasoning and ability to look beyond the present helped guide the Board in the decision-making process.
It was not unusual to see Earl visiting one of the schools and chatting with the administration, teachers, staff, and students. He always asked how things were going and ways in which he might help. He especially enjoyed his time working with the performing arts, including instrumental music.
Over the years, Earl joined the administration as we interviewed for teaching positions in this area. His questions would test the fiber of each candidate and bring the most knowledgeable and prepared candidates to the forefront. He refused to accept “average” and wanted only those outstanding music educators to work with our children.
Once a teacher had been offered a contract, he devoted his time, talent, and expertise to assist them over the first “rough” year in the classroom. It was not uncommon for Earl to give of his time teaching students a particular skill or process. He could be seen at numerous events ranging from band and choir concerts to basketball games.
Earl was both an accomplished musician and athlete. He was a star tennis player in high school and was offered a major league contract in baseball. He served his country in the military and traveled from base to base entertaining the troops with is musical ability.
He was a devoted husband and father. Despite his many responsibilities throughout his life, his family always came first. He took great pride in talking about them and their accomplishments. He loved his grandchildren and often spoke of them.
Recently, Earl was acknowledged by his colleagues at the Utah School Boards Association for 18 years of service as a board of education member. He had earned their applause and respect for his service both locally and as a member of their association.
On a personal note, Earl was my friend and mentor. He always supported me as I grew as an educator and moved from assignment to assignment. His advice was sound and his suggestions meaningful. I will miss him greatly.
In the August 9 meeting, the Morgan County Board of Education will fill the vacancy left by Earl’s passing. This person will begin their own legacy to the students of our valley. We wish them well and hope they will be as devoted and dedicated as the person they are replacing.
God bless the Ericksen family on their loss. I’m certain Earl will be watching over them and doing what he can to help the children in Heaven.