Allen L. ‘Al’ Erickson

BARK RIVER – Allen L. “Al” Erickson, 75, of Bark River, passed away on July 11, 2014, at his home of an apparent heart attack while working in his garden.

He was born in Escanaba on Oct. 15, 1938, the son of Arthur T. and Mea J. (Flath) Erickson.

Al graduated from Escanaba High School in 1957. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in education from Western Michigan University in 1961 with a major in physical education and a minor in social sciences. He continued his college education at Northern Michigan University where he obtained his master’s degree in counseling.

On March 28, 1989, Al married Linda Lamberg in Las Vegas, Nev.

Al was an avid outdoorsman. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and golfing. He was involved in many organizations including Wildlife Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, National Turkey Federation, and National Rifle Association. Al also loved to spend many hours tending to his garden.

Al played Escanaba Fast Pitch Softball and coached Little League, Babe Ruth League, Escanaba Cubs, baseball in Powers, and golf in Manistique. He was a member of the Highland Golf Club, the Escanaba High School Hall of Fame, and a past King Lion of the Ford River Lions Club.

While employed as a teacher, Al coached baseball at Powers School and golf for the Manistique Schools. He was employed at Gladstone High School as a guidance counselor until his retirement in 1994.

He was a batting champion in the Mid-American Conference with a .483 average while attending Western Michigan University. Al helped the Broncos reach the College World Series. He was a four-year catcher at WMU from 1958 until 1961. He then signed a bonus contract with the San Francisco Giants in 1961. He advanced to the Class AAA El Paso in 1965 until his career ended with a shoulder injury. Al played on two state championship baseball teams in Escanaba, Little League in 1951 and American Legion in 1955. He was also a standout fast pitch softball player for the Escanaba Merchants from 1966 to 1978. On April 28, 2007, Al was inducted into the U.P. Sports Hall of Fame.

He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Linda; sons, Jeffrey (Deya) Erickson of McAllen, Texas and Thomas James (Janice) Elegeert of Gladstone; daughters, Laurie (Kelly) Bitters of Ovieda, Fla., Kim (Jack) Lagina of Green Bay, Wis., and Renae (Christopher) Defiore of Gladstone; 14 grandchildren; sisters, Donna (Michael) Degnan of Escanaba, Sharon (Dale) DeMars of Escanaba, and Susan (John) Hartman of Roscommon, Mich.; brother, Dennis (Darlene) Erickson of Wells; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.

In keeping with Al’s wishes, no services will be held.

Cards of sympathy may be sent to Linda Erickson, E4193 M-35, Bark River, MI, 49807.

The Crawford Funeral Homes are assisting the Erickson family.