Erickson, Robert "Froley" "Swede" Sr., passed away peacefully Monday, November 21, 2011 at his son's home in Tappahannock, Va. He was born in Youngstown, Ohio on June 8, 1917 and at age four moved to "Swede Hill" in Jamestown, New York.
His athletic talents were noticed by scouts from Syracuse University and as part of his scholarship, he was sent to Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia. He decided Virginia was for him and he transferred to The University of Richmond where he excelled in both football and basketball (team captain). He was always remembered for his touchdown catch that beat The University of North Carolina, 14 to 13.
He proudly served in the United States Navy and after the war, he became the Athletic Director of McGuire Veteran's Hospital. He met Alice Mitchell Erickson who was a nurse there and they married in 1947. He moved into the tobacco business and was employed by Liggett and Myers Tobacco Company where, until his retirement, he was superintendent of manufacturing in Richmond and later in Durham.
After retirement, he was proud to volunteer for the Duke Children's Hospital, especially the Duke Children's Classic and the Durham Sertoma Club. He loved his Duke basketball and all sports and stayed very independent and active until recently. He was preceded in death by his wife, Alice. The couple is survived by son, Robert Jr.; two grandchildren, Robbie and Megan; and two nephews, Benjie and Mitchell Thompson; and family of Cary, N.C.
A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held Saturday, December 10, 2011 at 1 p.m. at the Massey Funeral Home, 131 S. Commerce St., Aulander, N.C. A graveside service will follow at the Aulander Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Duke Hospice in Durham, or Hospice of Virginia in Tappahannock, Va.
The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.