James “Jim” Erickson, age 87 of Westbrook, passed away Wednesday, December 28, 2016 at Sanford Westbrook Medical Center. Funeral services will be at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, January 3, 2017 at Old Westbrook Lutheran Church. Visitation is 4:00-7:00 p.m. Monday at the Westbrook Funeral Home and will continue one hour prior to services at the church on Tuesday. Burial is in Old Westbrook Lutheran Cemetery. Online condolences may be sent at www.stephensfuneralservice.com. Stephens Funeral Service – Westbrook Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
James Howard Erickson was born June 29, 1929 in Ann Township, Westbrook, Minnesota to Alfred and Hilda (Knutson) Erickson. He was baptized and confirmed at the Old Westbrook Lutheran Church. Jim attended District 30 country school and later Westbrook High School where he graduated in 1947. On December 2, 1951 he was united in marriage to Helen LaVonne Deuth at Old Westbrook Lutheran Church. The couple had two children, a son and a daughter. They lived on the same family farm all of their lives, which became a Century Farm. Jim farmed in his early years and also became a water well driller in 1948. He drilled wells for 40 years and then did water well repair work. His first four years of drilling were with his brother-in-law, Marvin Berg, and then he went on his own. Jim was a creator and inventor. He built the only John Deere well digging rig in 1952. In 1992 he exhibited his rig at Expo III at Waterloo, Iowa and later gained recognition with it in the National Water Well Journal. Throughout his life, Jim built almost everything imaginable. He participated in the Minnesota Inventors Congress at Redwood Falls for several years. Jim was an active member of the Minnesota Water Well Association, being elected to the Board of Directors in 1980. In 1985 he had to resign as Vice President because of ill health, and also that year he received an Honorary Membership from the Minnesota Water Well Association. In 1971 he was appointed by Governor Wendell Anderson to serve four years on the Advisory Council to the Minnesota Department of Health, advising on laws to be a licensed water well driller in Minnesota. Jim served on the Dr. Henry Schmitt Hospital Board from 1992 to 1997, the last two years as Chairman. He was a member of the Heritage Health Care Foundation Board for nine years and a member of the Westbrook Kiwanis. Jim became a life-time member of the Sons of Norway Lodge Revere chapter in 1948 and later the Windom chapter. He served as president from 1993 until 2000. Jim was involved with the Westbrook Heritage Museum for many years.
Jim is survived by his son Doug Erickson (Sharon Mathiowetz) and grandson Matthew, all of LeSueur. He is preceded in death by his parents, wife LaVonne, and daughter Tammy St. Pierre.