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Obituary: Wesley Alfred "Wes" Erickson

Wesley Alfred "Wes" Erickson, 87, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Sunday, March 12, 2023 in Esko. Wes was born to Alfred and Alice on April 2, 1935, in Duluth.

He graduated from Proctor High School in 1953.

He served in the Korean War from 1955 through 1957 and was the first American serviceman to use the stateside voting booth in Korea in the presidential election of 1956. Wes was very proud to be an American and showed his devotion to his country by always displaying the American flag.

He was married to Gertrude Maki on Aug. 2, 1958, and was blessed with four children, Carol, Paul, Shari and Terry, while living in Esko for more than 60 years.

He was a member of the Cloquet Gospel Tabernacle, serving in a variety of roles.

Wes had a strong work ethic and took great pride in getting to work through all kinds of weather. He had a variety of jobs. He was a rural route carrier for the U.S. Postal Service and drove 175 miles each day, delivering mail to Wright, Tamarack and Cromwell. He also served as constable for Thomson Township and on the Carlton County Rescue Squad for many years. In his later years, he drove a school bus for both Proctor and Cloquet districts, and coach bus for Cloquet Transit.

Wes was known for his quick wit, generous heart and strong opinions. He had many hobbies and passions. He loved motorized vehicles of any kind, including, but not limited to, cars, buses, vans, motorcycles and snowmobiles. Throughout his life he owned more than 100 vehicles. He not only loved buying cars, but spent endless hours fixing and driving them. Later in life he dabbled in collector cars, participated in shows, even winning a few awards. His collection of replica cars also numbered more than 100.

Wes loved photography and enjoyed taking pictures of his children's events, and many of his photos were used in the local paper, the Pine Knot. To say he loved the road is an understatement. He channeled this passion serving and volunteering to drive thousands of miles in the United States and Mexico for Teen Missions and Youth With a Mission. He was also a founding member of the local chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association, with the motto "Riding for the Son."

Wes will be remembered for his gift of gab and sense of humor, which he found in any situation. Further evidence of his big heart was his willingness to help anyone in need, sometimes bringing strangers home for dinner.

Wes is survived by his wife of 64 years, Gertrude (Maki); his children, Carol (Larry) Szyman of Hudson, Wisconsin, Paul Erickson of Esko, Shari (Mark) Tollerud of Cloquet, and Terry (Dawn) Erickson of Duluth; grandchildren, Zack (Angie), Nate (Emily) and Josh (Andie) Szyman, Jamie, Haley and Justin (Jamie) Erickson, Jordan (Mark) Laskowski, Ryan and Connor (Kaitlyn) Tollerud, and Morgan and Matthew Erickson; and great-grandchildren, Hunter, Tempe, Jadon, Verity, Lucas, Mason, Jovie and Miles. He was preceded in death by his parents, Alfred and Alice; and brothers, Warren and Gerald.

Visitation: 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. memorial service Saturday, March 18 at Journey Christian Church in Cloquet. Lunch to follow. The service will be live streamed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nvzDuTamkY.

Burial will take place later in the year in Sawyer. The family deeply appreciates the services of St. Croix Hospice for the care given to Wes in his final days.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to Teen Missions (teenmissions.org/give) or the Cloquet chapter (Aurora Knights No. 899) of the Christian Motorcyclists Association (cmausa.org/Donate/Donate).

Pine Knot News, March 17, 2023

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