Mark Erickson died early Monday morning, September 30, 2019, at his home in Silver City. He was 73 years old. He was born in Fullerton California to Margaret Eadington Erickson and Edwin Joseph Erickson. He grew up learning about agriculture in the family’s citrus orchards and being able to drive farm vehicles as soon as he was tall enough to reach the brake and gas pedals was a great incentive as was learning Spanish from some of the workers.
Mark had many interests and talents. A gifted musician, Mark particularly loved playing bluegrass music and was a member of a bluegrass band in the LA area. Before moving to New Mexico, Mark built custom “hot rods” and dune buggies. He was a prototype machinist and member of the team that designed and built the docking mechanisms for NASA’s Apollo space program. After completing his college degree, he became a journeyman electrician, certified master mechanic, and taught mine-mill and construction technologies at Western New Mexico University.
Mark served in the US Army in Gary Owen Brigade of the First Cavalry and completed a combat tour of duty in Viet Nam in Infantry Operations and Intelligence. During his overseas service, he was also a writer/photographer for the US military newspaper, Stars and Stripes. He attained the rank of Sergeant E5, earned Marksman and Expert badges, and was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Vietnam Campaign Medal.
Starting at the age of 13, he was a professional photographer. He studied at the Maine Photographic Workshop and had his own studio in Silver City for many years, providing wedding and portrait photography. His love of nature and the outdoors inspired his landscape photography. From 2002 to 2013 his photos were featured in each year’s Ambank calendars. Unique photographs he took in 1989 during the first-ever fire shelter deployment by U.S. Forest Service personnel fighting the Shelly fire were later used for safety training and also appeared on the cover of the Forest Service’s Fire Management publication. He was a contributing photographer for New Mexico Magazine. He enjoyed the technically challenging aspects of medical, industrial, and aerial photography. Over the years, he provided many courtesy photos to local publications and events. Most recently, he was a writer and photographer for Silver City Life magazine.
Mark loved people and was active in community activities, serving as technical director for Community Concerts for many years. He was involved in community theater productions and the first years of the Tour of the Gila bicycle race. During the early years of the Great Race at WNMU, he built a new Great Race car annually for the Biology Club. Mark provided pro bono photography services for the Billy Casper Golf Tournament, which was formerly a major annual fundraiser for Gila Regional Medical Center.
For the past seven years, he was on the planning committee for Wreaths Across America at Ft. Bayard National Cemetery, part of a national effort to honor and remember all military veterans who have served this nation to ensure our freedom. In this capacity he documented the annual event for media, public awareness, and local fundraising efforts.
Mark treasured his friends and was a loyal friend to many. He was happy to have so many calls and visitors during his last days. Mark’s quick wit and sense of humor was appreciated by all and will be deeply missed.
He was a member of the Lac Courte Orielles band of Lake Superior Chippewas. Mark was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Patricia Erickson, two sons; Terry Michael Erickson and his companion, Cinnamon, and Daniel Jon Erickson and wife Toby; two granddaughters, three grandsons, and brothers Eric Erickson, Paul Erickson ‘67, and Jon Erickson, ‘68 and their families. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the High Desert Humane Society.
A Graveside/Memorial Service with full military honors will be celebrated on Monday, October 7th at 11am at Fort Bayard National Cemetery officiated by Deacon Bill Holguin. Cremation has taken place at Terrazas Crematory. Arrangements are with Terrazas Funeral Chapels and Crematory “Trusted care for the ones you love’ ~ 575-537-0777.
To send condolences, visit www.terrazasfuneralchapel.com.
SEE the video of Marls family and his brothers: