By Karolyn Gephart
Friendswood said farewell recently to a well-known community member, former elected city official, war hero, and friend to so many, Gerald “Jerry” Ericsson, 73, who passed away September 4, 2020.
Friends joined the family at Stevenson Park Saturday, September 12 for a memorial service to a man who put service above self throughout his life.
Close friends Ron Cox and Bill Provenzano shared memories at the memorial service and a helicopter flyover was also part of the service.
On Facebook and around the city, many remembered Ericsson from years of community involvement and encouragement he gave to others to get involved.
He served on City Council from 1996 to 2005 and was active in Friendswood Rotary Club where he held offices during his membership. He was currently active on the board of directors for the Friends of Downtown Friendswood and worked with organization of the group on committees. He was well liked and respected by those around him. His absence will be noticed in many areas of the city and by neighbors and friends.
Many knew Ericsson from his military career. He served two tours in the Vietnam War from 1968 to 1972. He received many commendations, including two Purple Hearts. He was a Lt. Col. (ret) from the US Army and was a 30 year Army Officer and Apache, Blackhawk, Cobra, and Huey pilot with more than 2000 Combat Hours,10,000 total.
After active duty, Jerry served in the Texas Army National Guard and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. He was the Battalion Commander of an AH-64 Apache Unit and Facility Commander at Ellington Field.
The community was able to let Ericsson know firsthand how they felt about him when a special parade was held in his honor in July. Organized by Rotary, a street parade by his house was created to safely distance from each other yet tell him hello and wish him well after so many months where all were not gathering as well as his own medical treatments isolating him at the time.
People in antique cars, convertibles (a favorite of Ericsson’s for parades and nice days), and decorated cars and trucks slowly drove around and showed their support by telling him hello in voice and signage. Many signs said Part Time Hero, All Around Great Guy.
His wife Becky and children, Blake, Chase and wife, Jennifer and three grandchildren, Jake, Cash and Elizabeth reported that it was a great day and he loved and appreciated the show of support.
Friends will remember his service, his friendship and his amazing smile.
There will be an interment ceremony for Ericsson with full Military Honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.