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Hector Nicolai (Nicky, Nick) Eriksen passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Wednesday, February 21, 2018. Nicky was born on May 1, 1938 in the Oakdale Hospital on Laurel Avenue to Hector Johan and Evalyn (Hawley) Eriksen. He was the first grandson of Hans and Clara (Roen) Eriksen and second of Marvin and Lulu (Harding) Hawley. He grew up in and around Oakdale with his brother, Edwin, and his sister, Susan, spending his time between the Eriksen and Hawley Ranches, and most belovedly, at his Pop Eriksen’s cabin and later his parents’ in the Dardanelles.
He loved his cousins, his first friends, The Willett brothers, the Griesner and Benedix sisters and the Eriksen, Kniveton and Hawley kids. Growing up was filled with family gatherings and he held those memories close to his heart and spoke often of them. Nicky started driving a tractor on his Pop Eriksen’s barley ranch on Eastman Road when he was 12 years old and continued to work with his grandfather and father and his beloved Uncle Bud until the ranch was sold in 1969.
He graduated from Oakdale High School in 1956 where he was involved in FFA and track, then continued his Ag education at Modesto Junior College. In 1958 he picked up a side job at Hunt Wesson Cannery to earn some extra money for a new car and stayed for 43 years. If you asked him what he did there, he would say “everything.” He worked as a safety supervisor and at the time of his retirement in 2001 he had alternated his job in personnel with his job in the “storeroom” for over 30 years. Nick served in the Army National Guard from 1958-1967. In 1968, Nick met Rosemary Machado in the cafeteria at Hunt Wesson Cannery. They were married two years later and started a family one year later. Daughter, Antoinette, was born in 1971 and son, Hans, followed in 1973. While looking for a sport to run off some of his 5-year-old son’s energy, Nick discovered soccer and the newly formed Oakdale Youth Soccer League. After a couple of years of researching and studying the game he started coaching and spent the next 10 years teaching, coaching and refereeing. He served as president of OYSL and held a Class D coaching license (the highest available at the time). Monies earned for the games he ref’d were all banked for registration fees for kids in need. Sought after spots on his traveling teams were filled by lottery – and those teams were so good that even rotating in B and C players couldn’t keep the score under control. After his retirement, Nick devoted all his time to his family, specifically his grandkids: Mathew, Kyle, Luke, Jesse, Caroline, Bethany, and Leif. He was their biggest fan in everything they did, going to all their sporting, music and dance events. Mostly, he just wanted to spend time with them telling them about their family history, coaching them on life in general and “knowing them as humans.” He wanted to pass down his love of music and be sure that each kid had something constructive that was keeping them busy. He was a huge fan of Oakdale’s Music Department and he avidly followed Oakdale’s Academic Decathlon Team – he was proud to have grandkids involved in both.
Nick was predeceased by his father, Hector, his mother, Evalyn, and his brother, Edwin. He is survived by his wife, Rosemary, his children Antoinette (Mike) Ryun and Hans (Sunny) Eriksen, his grandchildren, his sister, Susan Anderson and many in-laws, nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 11 a.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 4606 Michigan Ave., Valley Home, CA 95361 with a reception following at Rivi’s Wine Bar at 150 N. Third Ave., Oakdale. Please join the family after the service for a Jazz Funeral Procession to the reception beginning around 12:30 p.m. at the Oakdale Library (parking lot) 151 S. First Ave. Rain or shine.
The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader
Feb. 28, 2018