March 24, 1920 – Saturday, May 31, 2008
The Peterson Chapel St. Michae
Grandma™s Life Journey
Eileen Mary Josephine Fricke was born on March 24, 1920 at the family farm in Hassen Township, MN. She was the first of seven children born to Louis and Florence (Fehn) Fricke.
Many times she shared her childhood memories including a visit to Missouri to visit relatives on the Fricke side. She spoke of the three day journey in the Model T Ford. As there were few paved roads or hotels the family slept in roadside ditches and Eileen spoke of crying for her dog, Sport, who was left at home.
As a student she attended St. Wallburga Catholic School in Fletcher where she completed the eighth grade. She and her siblings after completing morning chores had to walk to school and home again four miles up hill both ways! Eileen had beautiful penmanship and as a result the nuns at school had her write the daily assignments on the chalkboard. This made her mother upset as she always had to stay up late to finish her own schoolwork.
At the age of fifteen Eileen tired of farm work. She made an agreement with her dad that she would go find employment in order to send money home to pay a hired hand to take her place on the farm. She found work as a housekeeper in south Minneapolis. Legally she needed to be sixteen in order to accept the job. As she was still fifteen, she told a little white lie and began her work. Her cover was later blown as her sisters had her sweet sixteenth birthday announced on a local radio station. Her employers heard this, but being they were pleased with her work, they decided not to make an issue of it.
As a young single gal, Eileen and her friends enjoyed attending the local dances. It was at the old Prom Ballroom that she met a handsome Swedish immigrant named Gust Erickson. The two courted for 2-3 years off and on during the war years. They married on December 28, 1944.
As a young married couple they moved to Colorado as Gust was stationed there in the Air Force. While in Colorado Eileen became pregnant with the first of six children. She missed family and as soon as possible they arranged to move back to Minnesota.
Gust felt the best place to raise their family was on a farm. With much hesitation Eileen agreed, so they purchased the farm in Fletcher for $7,000.00 and sold the sod off the pasture for $1,000.00. Gust promised to build her a new house on the farm. She still had the house plans for it in her townhome in Otsego to this day. Apparently she was still making design adjustments.
Once they were established on the farm it became a meeting place for family and friends. The family remembers Saturday morning baking marathons, pots of homemade soups, Christmas breads, bread pudding and rhubarb fixed a hundred different ways. She loved to put food up for the winter. She took pride in the number of jars of pickles, jams, and vegetables she preserved every year. Her daughter-in-law, Betty, remembers she couldn’t keep up with Grandma on canning days. It was common knowledge if you visited Eileen you were not going to leave without a jar of jam, a bag of tomatoes and a handful of zucchini. She also enjoyed making homemade sauerkraut with her grandchildren.
Her grandchildren -especially Ernie™s twins- talk of “staying o’er night” (a phrase that was repeated hundreds of times by Eileen) at Grandma and Grandpa™s farm. There was always much to do on the farm. She would say to her grandchildren, I™ll letcha help weed the garden, or don™tcha wanta? Eileen was known to often scrub the garage floor on her hands and knees.
It was in 1961 that Lenore Scherber finally convinced Eileen to come work at Dehn’s Country Manor. This led to an eighteen year career as a waitress. Even up until earlier this past month while the family had a baby shower, Eileen, as usual, had to take a walk into the kitchen at Dehn™s to see the chef and look things over.
In 1973 Eileen was invited to a charismatic prayer meeting in Buffalo by Lenore. It was at that meeting that she committed her life to a deeper more personal relationship with God. She then spent the next 35 years sharing her faith and personal testimony to whomever would listen. Her dedication through service involved among many other things, heading up the greeter committee at Maple Grove Assembly and co-leading the Corcoran prayer group with her sister Polly and Lenore.
Together Eileen and Gust had six children. Her “firstborn” son Ernest “Ernie” and wife Betty live in Brooklyn Center and have four adult children. Number 2 on her speed dial was Dwight “Ike” and wife Jerilyn. They live in Rogers and have two grown sons. Her only and often referred to as “favorite daughter” Marguerite has three adult daughters and lives in Otsego. Gerald “Jerry” and wife Karen live in St. Michael and continue the legacy of farming. They have four children. Lawrence “Larry” and wife Carla make their home in Plymouth and matched Eileen and Gust by also having six children. Their “Late Dividend” Randal “Randy” and wife Leslie live in Otsego and have three girls. All total there are 22 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren with one more to arrive any minute! Family was so important for Eileen. She was often heard boasting that she “felt like an old cluck-hen” because she had all her chicks within 25 miles of her home.
In 2002 the old gray mare decided she just ain™t what she used to be. So Eileen chose to move off the farm to Otsego. She and Marguerite bought side-by-side town homes there. She continued to enjoy gardening on a smaller scale with containers on her patio. She still was able to make several batches of rhubarb jam every year. The last few times she taught daughter-in-law, Betty, so the tradition can carry on.
It was this past Easter, March 23, a day before her 88th birthday that she suffered a stroke. After surgery to clear the carotid artery in her neck, Eileen went to Guardian Angels Transitional Care Unit for rehabilitation. Upon release from there the family decided it was best to have her placed in early stage dementia care at the Wellstead of Rogers. She settled into the Wellstead especially enjoying her garden view room where she could continue her love of flowers by watching and “supervising” the spring planting.
On Thursday, May 22, Eileen broke her hip while getting ready for bed. This started a weeklong decline in her health. On Friday, May 30, it was decided by family to provide comfort care and allow her to go home to be with her Lord. Surrounded by her family, she was welcomed into heaven at 2:15 a.m. on Saturday, May 31, at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, MN. There to meet her for their first waltz on the streets of gold was Gust, her husband of 40 years.
Eileen is preceded in death by her husband Gustaf; parents Louis and Florence Fricke; sister Kathleen Vorderer; brothers Alroy Fricke and Justin Fricke, and great-grandson Gabriel Lewis.
Eileen is survived by her six children and their spouses, as well as her 22 grandchildren, 7 grandchildren-in-law and 8 (soon to be 9) great-grandchildren. The grandchildren are serving as pallbearers and honorary pallbearers. She is also survived by sister Pauline (Andrew) Savitski of St. Michael; brothers Louis Fricke, Jr. of Groveland, CA and Harlen (Shirley) Fricke of Brooklyn Center; and sisters-in-law Ann Fricke of Santa Clarita, CA and Janet Fricke of Maple Grove. She is further survived by nieces, nephews, cousins and many friends.
On one last note, Eileen was very excited to be involved in a new church being planted in Rogers. As part of her commitment to seeing the gospel spread and community outreach needs being met, Eileen responded to the Lord by donating 10 acres and selling an additional 10 acres of land for a church to one day be built. After 7 ½ years of faithful prayer, HighPoint Church plans their ground breaking for this coming Sunday June 8. Eileen had hoped to turn over the first shovel of dirt and cut the ribbon at the grand opening. Instead, we can be assured that she will be watching over the construction site and everyone involved in making her dream become a reality.
Eileen Erickson is survived by¦ Children and their families:
Ernest and Elizabeth Erickson
*James Erickson, son Parker; *Joel Erickson (FiancÃ©e Jessica Frost and son Drew);
*Jeffery (Karoline) Erickson, daughters Hunter and Genavieve; Christine Erickson
Dwight Erickson and Jerilyn Ketter
*Jon Ketter-Erickson; *David (Jamie), daughter Paige
Julie (Patrick) Lewis, children Mikayla and Silas; Molly Erickson;
Bethany Erickson (fiancÃ© *William Nwameme)
Gerald and Karen Erickson
Faith (Thomas) Faatz, son Asher; *Ryan Erickson;
Joy (Aaron) Gullings, daughter Elsie and baby due soon; Mark Erickson
Lawrence and Carla Erickson
*Dane Erickson; Johannah Erickson; Emily Erickson; Adrian Erickson;
Matthew Erickson; Bridget Erickson
Randal and Leslie Erickson
Lydia Erickson; Greta Erickson; Anika Erickson
Siblings, Spouses, In-Laws:
Pauline (Andrew) Savitski; Louis Fricke, Jr.; Harlan (Shirley) Fricke; Ann Fricke; Janet Fricke
And many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
*Indicates pallbearers. All other grandchildren are serving as Honorary Pallbearers.