Gaye Erickson was one of the kindest people on the planet. She was warm, selfless and generous to everyone she knew, and just as importantly - to those she did not. Her blue eyes sparkled with magic and she was quick to share her smile with every person who crossed her path. Her silly sense of humor and warm chuckle delighted us all.
We knew her as wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, though her life was bold and colorful before we all wandered in. Born in Pine City Minnesota in December of 1936, she enjoyed ice skating, saddle shoes, shenanigans with friends and the music of Elvis. Being dearly loved by all, it came as no surprise she was crowned homecoming queen. After high school she became a hair stylist and worked in Minneapolis, keeping this talent alive in a number of shops
throughout the earlier chapters of her life. She married Cully in 1958, and they celebrated a love like no other, dancing in the kitchen for 64 years! Together they created a loving family with two sons and a daughter; Dan, Scott (Valerie Erickson) and Pam (ML Stone). Gaye was incredibly caring, and was always supportive of her children's adventures. She became the
proud grandparent of Grant (Julie) and Stacey (Josh), who are especially thankful for her unwavering support, and she was also the great-grandparent of Maddie, Abe and Weston. The last memory of time with her greats was just a short time ago, as she played with Weston's toes while surrounded by family.
Gaye was upbeat, organized, and always serving her family and community. She was a Cub Scout Den Mother as a young Mom, and somehow always found time and resources to make birthdays and holidays special for all. It was common to find her in the kitchen, the champion of perfectly cooked turkeys, hams and dressing and her cinnamon rolls, Danish puffs and pies were unparalleled. The cookie jar was always full, they always had the perfect crunch, and there was no such thing as "store bought." Her house was so impeccably clean, you could eat them off the floor!
Gaye exercised her green thumb in a greenhouse in the earlier years of living in Phillips, and her talents with flowers and plants followed her home. She loved working in the gardens around the house and delighted in her spring plantings. She then dedicated many years to the community through her work at Lakeview Pharmacy, offering her steady and kind heart to all
who entered. It wasn't all work and no play for her, however. She dearly enjoyed her community of friends, loved the bridge nights and co-hosted many corn roasts where she joined a crew in picking up corn cobs the day after, strewn well beyond the hanging tires they were intended for. Also, though it was never officially confirmed, there were rumblings of at least one wild Halloween in a hearse packed with people and cavorting through town, laughter reverberating through the streets.
Gaye loved animals and the natural world. She delighted in the deer who would wander into the backyard and was vigilant about making food for her hummingbirds. She had many dogs throughout her life and was most recently known to share her lunch each day with her sweet black lab, Nikki - who stuck by her, guarding and protective, to the end. Gaye also loved the
color pink and her Green Bay Packers almost as much as she loved anything chocolate. Like a squirrel, she would hide bits of candy in her dresser drawers and in other spots around the house, and almost always wiped the evidence from her face. Perhaps these snacks helped fuel her mastery at Scrabble or her ability to fix anything computer related - a skill that always
impressed. In the later years of her life, Gaye blended her incredible dedication to kids and her love of the outdoors with the mastery of her organizational skills to support a Youth Field Day. This went on for 9 years before handing off the baton from this successful run. She was also active in the St. John Lutheran Church, serving on multiple committees and always reaching out to those in need.
Gaye's basement was a workshop, and she loved to watercolor! Countless brushes and tubes of paint filled the room and remnants of her work hang there today. She also blessed many with her phenomenal quilting skills. Like a little elf, she would work late into the night, meticulously sewing each square and attaching her signature heart on one corner before sharing this
tangible gift of her warmth and love.
Gaye led an amazing life and was an inspiration to all who knew her. Her intrepid spirit finally came to a peaceful rest on August 12th, 2022, surrounded by those she loved. The team at Hope Hospice became part of the family in her final months, and these angels were beyond kind, warm and present. Gaye made requests for no funeral service or gathering after her
passing. In lieu of flowers, the family invites gifts in memory of Gaye to be directed to Hope Hospice in Medford so their caring arms can support others in need. Additionally, the family sends gratitude to the many friends and neighbors who supported them on this journey - their kindness will always be remembered.
Finally, Gaye was filled with optimism and we're ever grateful for her teachings about unconditional love. She knew what mattered and what didn't. One of her most commonly shared pieces of wisdom will forever reverberate for all who knew her, "Don't sweat the small stuff."
Heindl-Nimsgern Funeral Home is assisting the family.