SOU Retirees Association Website
*
*
*
subscribe to our site Subscribe

Back
LINE

[ sitemap ] [ advanced search ]
*
*
*
*
William Ross (Wangen) Eriksen

William Ross (Wangen) Eriksen

William Ross Wangen Eriksen died Sept. 14, 2020, and went to “the great fishing hole in the sky.” He wanted his obituary to simply read “Bill died. Boat for sale.” His family would have honored his request, which was typical of him, but we felt that those who knew him might want more. 

Dr. Bill Eriksen was born on Nov. 24, 1937, to Sam (Selmer) and Harriet (Hansen) Wangen in Albert Lea, Minn.

Bill grew up mostly in Albert Lea but spent a few of his formative years in Canadian, Texas. When he was 15 the family moved back to Minnesota.  He graduated from high school there and, after serving four years in the United States Navy (in his words as a “weather guesser”), he immediately enrolled in college (Minnesota State University - Mankato) where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Speech Therapy/Education in 1963. 

Bill then worked 25 hours a week at the Mankato Furniture Exchange and played the Tuba three nights a week in a Polka Band “The Northern Playboys.” It should also be noted that he occasionally filled in with one of the upper midwest’s premier polka bands “Harold Lauffenmaker and the Six Fat Dutchmen.” Aah, such fame. While serving as a public school speech therapist in Brainard, Minn.,  Bill became an ardent (obsessed!) fisherman.

After three years in Brainard, he began a master’s degree program in Counseling Psychology at Minnesota’s Bemidji State University (100 miles north, where the fishing was especially good!). He earned his master’s in 1967, applied for and was accepted into the Oregon State University doctoral program in Higher Education and Psychology. 

Upon completion of his EdD. degree at OSU in 1970, Bill was set to return to  Bemidji State, but after experiencing Oregon’s beautiful weather, fantastic friendly people and excellent salmon fishing, he was reluctant to leave the “Pacific Wonderland.” Fortunately, just a few weeks prior to packing up his things to go back to Minnesota, he was hired to fill the position of Director of Student Financial Aid at  then Southern Oregon College in Ashland, Ore. 

Bill would stay at what is now Southern Oregon University for the next 30-plus years, serving mostly as Director Of Counseling and Special Services. “There I was in the perfect place, with the perfect job -- Wow,” he said of his time in Ashland.  His career as a public school and university educator, counselor and administrator extended over a span of 40 years. 

Survivors include his beloved wife Jacqueline, whom he married in 1983, their three children Jessica, Steven and Michael, and Bill’s children Jonathan, Jayne, and Annie, from previous marriages.  His son Robert is recently deceased.

Bill’s family expresses thanks to his many friends, including those in the “Old Timers Poker Club,” his running buddies in the Ashland Super Slugs and his fishing pals, among many others.





For more information, contact: Jeanne Stallman, Executive Director, Outreach and Engagement, dce@sou.edu.


printer friendly version Printer friendly version

©2002 Site designed and developed by Project A, using ActiveContent™ Technology.
Website & Privacy Policy.


*