Patricia Louise Erickson Profile Photo

Patricia Louise Erickson

November 6, 1921 — August 23, 2023

Kalispell, Montana

 Our much-loved mom, Patricia Louise Shanahan Erickson, passed away at the age of 101 with family on August 23, 2023, at Brendan House in Kalispell, MT. This very special lady lived a long, event- filled life, having accomplished so many things. She was a real Montana native, born in November of 1921 in Whitefish, Montana. Her father, William J. Shanahan, was Yard Master for the Great Northern Railroad, and her mother was Freda Bailey Shanahan. Freda was Clerk of Court for Flathead Valley and volunteered tirelessly for the women’s right to vote, many local charitable projects, began Whitefish Credit Union, instrumental in starting Flathead Valley College, and building the first independent Senior Residences in Whitefish, Mountain View Manor.

Pat was a Girl Scout Leader, volunteered and substitute taught at Evergreen Junior High, worked at The Evergreen Food Bank, helped at the Senior Center in Kalispell, and participated in several other charities and fund raisers such as the yearly Heart Drive, Cancer Drive, etc.

In her very young years she raced speed boats, swam, and played in Whitefish Lake, and spent many summers enjoying her uncle’s home on Swan Lake. She hiked the Flathead valley, hiked all over Glacier National Park, participated in many local events and was a talented piano player. The winters were spent skating, sledding, and climbing up that huge mountain in Whitefish and skiing down. They came to know that mountain as Big Mountain, now renamed Whitefish Mountain. In her later years, after retirement, she hiked the many trails in Glacier National Park with a group of like-minded friends and traveled with them to explore many areas around Montana. She knew so many people, their families, and a great deal of Montana history. Her wonderful remembrances of the early Flathead Valley people and life are truly amazing!

Patricia attended Whitefish schools, graduating High School in 1939. Her parents stressed education and Patricia excelled! She went on to Kinman Business College in Spokane, WA, later being hired in accounting at Flathead Commercial in Kalispell, which later became Buttrey’s Department Store. In 1965 she began work for Kalispell Feed and Grain as their bookkeeper. When this closed in1985 she was hired by Flathead County. One of the most interesting assignments was to catalog all the people of the Demersville Cemetery. Each person had a story and amazing history that was finally put into print. 

In May 1946 she married Clayton Erickson, also living in Whitefish, who graduated from medical school in San Francisco, California becoming Doctor Erickson, a much-loved Podiatrist in the Flathead. To this marriage came 5 wonderful children still working successfully, living in different locations in the U.S. The children are Carla (Stoney) Moss, no children, Pamela (Cody) Houston, 1 child, Susan (Earl) Twist, Susan’s 2 children, John Erickson, 3 children, and Mary (Dave) Rennich, 2 children. Patricia has 8 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. Her one comment always got us laughing when she said, “I think I did a pretty good job of raising all of you. At least none of you are in prison!”

Her father and mother were always active in charitable causes so Pat took the hint and gave a lot of her time working with several organizations in Flathead County despite having 5 children! She was a charter member of Beta Sigma Phi Business Sorority, Kalispell Unit, and a charter member of Calvary Lutheran Church in Evergreen, Montana. She was an amazing seamstress, too, sewing for all the kids, decorating at home, and making Christmas items. We girls always had new, matching Easter outfits and beautiful school clothes. It was amazing what she could do! She and Clayton were active in the schools and Calvary Lutheran Church in Evergreen and Clayton helped start the hot lunch program at West Evergreen School.

She survived a myriad of children’s animal collections: horses, rabbits, dogs, an occasion kitty, wild birds, frogs, a white rat, a small alligator, turtles, snakes, and even a skunk! She always said she missed the horses the most.

She was proceeded in death by her husband, Dr. Erickson and grandson, Jacob Rennich Patricia has requested no services but will be attended to by Buffalo Hills Funeral Home in Kalispell.  

 

We will always remember her as “Patty Lou” who was a talented Irish girl and an amazing mom to all of us no matter what house you came from. The neighborhood has lost a very valuable person. Thanks, Mom!

"The family would like to thank the entire Brendan House staff for their amazing, loving care for our mother during the past several months."

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