Duane Erikson, 87

Duane Erikson of rural Arnold passed away Dec. 16, 2011, at Hilltop Estates in Gothenburg. Duane was born Oct. 8, 1924, on the family farm on Tallin Table south of Arnold to Martin and Hazel (Cole) Erikson, their only child. Duane grew up farming and ranching. Duane attended rural grade school at District 240 and graduated from Arnold High School in 1942, where he was active in music. After high school, he continued working on the family farm and ranch, never wanting to do anything else.September 1, 1948, Duane married Norma Oman. Three children were born to this union; Dan, Bruce, and Lori.Duane believed in improving the land and received awards in conservation, Eco farming, and grassland management. He respected the land and marveled at God's creation. He would point out the minute petals and stamens of the wild flowers he would bring home to Norma. There were always wildflowers in the house in season.Duane enjoyed music. He played the saxophone and several stringed instruments as well as participated in various vocal groups, continuing on the family tradition of music. As a child he would stand on the piano bench while his mother played the piano and his father the violin.Duane liked to read of the pioneers and early history of the West. He enjoyed telling of the old days and of life during the depression when his Dad saved the farm.He served on the election board for Elim Precinct for 50 years, school board for over 20 years, church treasurer for 20 years, and the ASC board for 10 years. He was also involved as a leader in 4-H and active with the youth of the community.Duane was fond of horses and always had a good horse. He helped relatives and friends with work and cattle drives, always with the kids wanting to ride with Duane on either the horse or tractor. Duane considered his aunts and uncles as brothers and sisters, spending much time with them on cattle drives. His first cattle drive was at age 4, when his uncle threw him in his saddle.He was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Norma; sons, Dan of Salinas, Calif., and Bruce of Denver, Colo.; daughter, Lori and husband Greg Sorensen of Lincoln, and numerous relatives and friends.Services were Dec. 20, at Evangelical Free Church in Gothenburg with Pastors Rick Rehmert , Victor Krag and Irv Jennings officiating. Burial followed in the Tallin Cemetery near Arnold. Memorials are suggested to the Tallin Cemetery Fund or to the family for future designation.To sign the online guest book, go to www.blasestrauser.com.Published in Custer County Chief, Dec. 22, 2011