Marjorie Erikson

Marjorie Dorothea Erikson

Sunday, September 14th, 1924 - Wednesday, June 17th, 2020
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Marjorie D. Erikson
9/14/1924 - 6/17/2020
Marjorie (Marge) passed away peacefully June 17, 2020 at her care facility in Lynnwood, WA. She was born in Mount Vernon, NY to Oscar and Dorothea (Hermann) Abel. Marge was married to Warren "Erik" Erikson, who preceded her in death in 2001.
Marge and Erik met in grade school and were reunited when Erik returned to New York after serving in the Navy during World War II. They married on February 9, 1946. Erik left the Navy to pursue a college degree, and afterward he went on to teach. The college years were lean, and their first child, John, was born while they lived in student housing. A second son, Carl, was born while Erik taught in Wisconsin and shortly after, Erik re-enlisted in the Navy. Their third child, Helen, was born in Virginia. Erik was a Navy officer whose career caused them to move every two years. Despite moving so often, Marge created a loving home for her three children and was the model of a military wife.
Even with all of the effort she put into the physical and emotional well-being of her family, Marge lived an incredible life of her own. At 15, she was a New York state swimming champion, but unfortunately was not able to attend the Olympic trials due to the war. As an adult, Marge took painting classes, tennis lessons, and swam laps almost daily. She occasionally pulled one or more of the kids out of school to go snorkeling and tide-pooling. She believed in hands-on learning. Marge volunteered for the Red Cross, the local art societies, and the Navy Relief. At 50, she got Scuba certified and dove in some exotic locations including travel to Africa and Belize as a water safety instructor for Marine Biology students.
While the family was stationed in Okinawa, Marge took Japanese language classes and brought Carl and Helen to India and Nepal for an adventure. Erik was transferred to Korea and The Hague as a military attaché later in his career and she embraced each country she entered. After Erik retired, they visited China and Russia where they were able to walk among the local people, not just landmarks and museums. They toured Australia and New Zealand as well. The highlight of these adventures was their 21-day sail across the Pacific Ocean in a 42-foot boat. Marge kept journals with pen and ink drawings, and she wrote haiku as well as short stories for her grandchildren.
After sailing to Alaska, Marge and Erik started down the coast and landed in Oak Harbor, WA where they spent many happy years. Avid boaters always, they transitioned from a sailboat to a Nordic tug and continued to travel throughout the waterways in the Northwest. They were active members of the Oak Harbor Yacht Club and developed many close friendships while there.
After Erik's passing, Marge relocated to Mill Creek/Lynnwood to be closer to her daughter and, true to form, she developed many friendships playing pool, bridge, and participating in walking groups. Marge could talk with virtually anyone and was known to be gracious and generous with her heart. She loved to collect art and unique pieces from around the world and embraced all cultures and faiths with equal joy. A favorite quote was, "people are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be." Marge chose happiness always. This was a life well lived.
Marge is survived by her children: John Erikson, of Rhode Island, Carl Erikson of Virginia, and Helen Shirts of Snohomish, Washington. She also leaves three grandchildren, Nicole Hockley, James Erikson, and John Cline, and three great grandchildren, Jake, Teal, and Evan.
Marge's younger sister, Jean Cohen resides in Florida. Marge and Jean were close and shared holidays with their families as often as possible. A funny family tradition was to always have spaghetti when the families got together. As the story goes, when they were children around the dinner table with their parents, Marge finished all the spaghetti before Jean could get a second helping. Henceforth, Jean's family would joke that the "locusts" had arrived. Marge also was close with Jean's children, Bud and Susie. They will have a spaghetti dinner in her honor.
The family will hold a private service to scatter her ashes in the Puget Sound and in Wickford R.I.
Arrangements have been made with the assistance of Whidbey Memorial Funeral and Cremation Service.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to Oak Harbor Youth Sailing in lieu of flowers. It is a registered 501c3 corporation. The website is and there's a "donate" button right on the home page.
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Alesa Lightbourne

Posted at 02:14pm
Marge was a very special friend to me on Whidbey Island. In fact, she was my very first friend there, and we met through the book club that Wind & Tide Books had at the time. I was immediately drawn to her depth of spirit, genuine kindness and adventurous life.

I came to regard her as a mother figure, because I looked up to her and respected her so much. We took frequent beach walks together, and discussed books, world travels, philosophy, sailing, childrearing and much more. It was at her urging that I began teaching college on the Navy base, the beginning of a very gratifying second career. She gave me valuable and much-needed advice at a key turning point in my life. Two of her paintings hang on my walls to this day.

May I live a life as full as Marge's, and age as gracefully as she did. I miss her with my whole heart.

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