SULLIVAN – Dr. Carl F. Erickson passed away on Thursday (Jan. 14, 2016) in Sullivan at the age of 97. Dr. Erickson was born Feb. 8, 1918, in Concordia, Kan., to Edd and Clara Gilbertson Erickson. He married Ruth Swanson on May 30, 1942, in North Luck, Wis.
He is survived by three daughters, Clarice (Gary) Kessinger of Decatur, Ala., Janet (Dave) Redenbaugh of Danville and Ruthann Erickson of Los Angeles; and one son, Carl N. Erickson of Sullivan. Also surviving are six grandchildren, Dave Kessinger of Danville, Ind., Kevin Kessinger (Tanya) of Plainfield, Ind., Ryan Redenbaugh (Debbie) of Huntington Beach, Calif., Daran Redenbaugh (Janette) of Chicago, Bryan Huber (Viktoria) of San Diego, Calif., and Heather Huber of San Diego; and five great-grandchildren, Will and Evan Kessinger, and Alex, Emma and Isaac Kessinger.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth, of 62 years; his parents; his sister; and infant brother.
Carl graduated from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., in 1940. He then did one year of postgraduate work in small animal medicine and surgery at the College of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He practiced veterinary medicine for two years in Centuria and St. Cloud, Wis., until World War II called him.
Carl was a member of the "Greatest Generation," serving for three years as a captain in the U.S. Army in World War II, spending 15 months in the China-India-Burma Theater. He spoke of a very touching experience at the end of the war. The ship carrying him and 5,000 troops back from India was heading close to New York Harbor at the close of World War II. He said it was getting dark, and the captain of the ship got on the loud speaker and said he was shutting down the ship's engines until morning so they could arrive by the light of day. That next morning, all the soldiers were on deck viewing the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. He said there wasn't a dry eye on deck.
It was in Sullivan that Carl and Ruth put down roots. They purchased the practice of Dr. S.J. Lewis and built the Sullivan Veterinary Clinic on Jackson Street in 1952. In the early '60s, Carl helped establish one of the few disease-free pig laboratories in the United States. He practiced in Sullivan until 1970. From 1970 to 1974, he served as veterinarian-in-charge of 70 meat-slaughter processing plants for the Illinois Meat and Poultry Inspection Service. He then joined a practice at the Eldorado Animal Hospital in Decatur in 1974 and worked there for 10 years before his retirement.
Carl was a member of Phi Kappa Phi honorary society at Kansas State University. He served as the veterinary practitioner representative for the American Veterinary Medical Association on the Nutrition Council of the American Feed Manufacturers from 1965 to 1968, was an honor roll member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, and a life senior member of the Illinois Veterinary Medical Association.
As a resident of Sullivan, he joined the Kiwanis Club in 1947 and served as president, treasurer and as a member of the board of directors; was a member of First Christian Church since 1947, serving as an elder, trustee and chairman of the board; was a member of George A. Sentel No. 764 Masonic Lodge for 63 years; and was a member of the American Legion for more than 60 years. He was a past member and president of Sullivan Community School District Board (1960-1963) and served as a county school trustee. Also, Carl helped establish the State Bank of Sullivan in 1969 and served as a bank director until his retirement in 1990.
Carl will be remembered as one who had a strong work ethic, could carry on a conversation with anyone, loved a good joke, enjoyed fishing and was an avid Kansas State University sports fan.
It was a "given" that those growing up in his household would attend college. His favorite advice was: "Don't think of the cost of education as an expense; let's think of it as an investment and an opportunity."
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, at Sullivan First Christian Church with Pastor Grant Wade officiating. Visitation will be one hour before the service at the church. Burial with military rites conducted by the Sullivan American Legion Post No. 68 will be in Greenhill Cemetery.
In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, the family requests that memorial contributions be made in Carl's memory to First Christian Church in Sullivan.
Reed Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be offered online at reedfuneralhome.net.