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School Board Member Earl Ericksen Passes Away at 87

Article Date: 
15 July, 2011 (All day)

 

K. Earl Ericksen, 87, passed away, July 12, 2011 at McKay-Dee Hospital.  Ericksen served on the Morgan County School Board for more than twenty years.  He was still serving and lending his insight and vast experience on the school board at the time of his death.  

Earl Ericksen’s led an interesting and varied life.  He grew up and received his early education in Manti, Utah.  There, he began to participate on the school’s sports teams and also became involved with the music programs.  He came to love both and they stayed with him throughout his life.  

In sports, he found that he was too small to play basketball but that did not deter him from getting involved.  He decided to give tennis a try and, as it turns out, his team went on to win the State Championship.  This was only the beginning of his involvement with school athletic programs... he went on to having more successes in other sports as well.  

Ericksen also developed a passion for music as he pursued his education.  He pursued this interest in high school, and music ended up providing him with many great opportunities throughout his life.

After graduation from high school, Ericksen enlisted in the army to serve the United States as the fought the  he entered the army.  He served during World War II.  When he was deployed he arrived and decided that what his unit needed was some entertainment.  

Many talented individuals were serving in the military and soon he had organized a fourteen-piece band.  They had a composer as a part of their group that wrote original music.  This group provided regular entertainment to the camp to which he was assigned.

His commanders soon recognized the talent in Ericksen and asked him to be responsible for the athletics and entertainment in the camp.  This assignment would continue for his time in military service.  His talents in music and in organization served to provide much needed diversions for those serving with him and great fulfillment to him personally.

After the war Ericksen had the opportunity to try out for Major League Baseball.  He passed the try out and received an offer to play for the St. Louis Cardinals.  He said that the pay at that time was only minimal and if he accepted the job that it would have precluded him from participating in any college sports.  He turned down the offer from the Cardinals and went to play basketball for Snow College.  

After two years at Snow College Ericksen went on to attend BYU where he played basketball.  He graduated from BYU with a degree in physical education and  a minor in music. He then went to teach in Manti.  He later earned a doctorate in music from Utah State.

Ericksen met his wife, Gretta, when she was staying with his grandmother in Manti.  After they were married he continued to teach PE, but the schedule of sporting events was not conducive to time with his family, and so he switched his career to music.  

Weber State recruited Ericksen to come and develop their music program.  When he arrived the program only had twenty individuals in the band and ten in the orchestra.  From this small base he built a full program that became one of the best music programs in the state.

Ericksen and his wife lived in Morgan for forty years.  They raised their two children here.  They came here because it was the right environment to raise their children.  Ericksen also said that the small community feel of Morgan reminded him of his years growing up in Manti.

Ericksen ran for the school board in 1989.  He had a strong desire to see the extra-curricular activities in the district receive support.  His experience and success in both sports and music motivated him to help students find the same joy he had in these activities.  His spirit, knowledge, and contributions will be greatly missed.