Florence (Philo) Ericksen
Jan. 28, 1920 – Aug. 10, 2010
Devoted Wife, Precious Mother, Cherished Nana, and Great Nana.
Florence was born in Seattle to William A.H. and Catherine Philo, two immigrants from England. She grew up in Seattle, attending seven different schools as her family moved frequently. Before she met Ralph, she attended school with his niece Charlotte and they became lifelong friends.
She worked for a short time as a waitress. She met Ralph in 1934 through his sister, Goldie, at a dance in the old Trianon Ballroom. They were married on Friday the 13th in November 1936 — after which she always referred to 13 as her lucky number.
Ralph took his new bride to Stuart Island where she lived with his widowed mother while he fished in Alaska. Her mother-in-law taught her to cook and clean house, as she was only 16 and a “city girl.” She adapted well to country living with a wood stove, no electricity, no running water, no indoor plumbing, and no refrigeration. She also learned to tend a garden and milk the cows.
Their first child, Barbara, was born in December 1937 when Florence was 17, followed by Vivian in 1940. In 1943, they bought a home in Ballard and split their time between it and Stuart Island.
After having five children, Florence informed Ralph that there would be no more babies if he didn’t buy her a washing machine for the island. Within weeks, a new gas-powered Sears machine was sitting on the back porch. Two more children were born to them.
When their oldest daughter, Barbara, reached high-school age, the family lived in Seattle during the school year and on Stuart during the summer.
Florence was a hard worker all her life. She and Ralph raised seven children. With Ralph gone for months fishing, a lot of the work of daily living fell on her shoulders. She was a wonderful homemaker, baking bread, cakes, and cookies and canning fruit, meat, and fish for her large family. Many a Sunday would find her making dinner for Ralph’s many relatives. She was a gracious hostess and everyone loved her.
Florence had a strong faith in God and taught Sunday School to the grandkids when they visited the island. She never said an unkind word about anyone and liked everyone.
She was able to live in her own home on Stuart Island until July 2010 when congestive heart failure forced her to leave. Florence died peacefully at the home of Linda and Jim in Edmonds on Aug. 10. We all miss her as she was a wonderful mother and made a big impression on our lives.
Florence was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Ralph C. Ericksen, in 1998; her youngest son, Eric C. Ericksen, in 2005; and her oldest son, Ralph W. Ericksen, in 2008. Her only sibling, Martha Dunn, passed away in 2003.
She is survived by five of her children: Barbara Schloredt, Seattle; Vivian (Bob) Schroth, Juneau, Alaska; Linda (Jim) Bergquist, Stuart Island; David Ericksen, Stuart Island; and Katherine Weiskind, Laguna Beach, Calif.; 11 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; and two fifth-generation great-great-granddaughters.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Oct. 10 in Seattle. Interment will be at the Stuart Island Cemetery at 2 p.m. on Oct. 16.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to her favorite charity: Seattle Union Gospel Mission, P.O. Box 202, Seattle, WA. 98111.
— Florence (Philo) Ericksen