A Monroe farmer and former fisheries professor who competed in decathlon into his early 80s, has died.
Albert W. Erickson, PhD, died Sunday, Oct. 27 in Bellevue at 84, after a very eventful life.
Erickson, a native of Illinois, was born in Chicago in 1929. He joined the Marines at the age of 17, and served on the USS Midway as an anti-aircraft gunner.
He then earned his masters and PhD at Michigan State University.
He went on to a distinguished and colorful academic career. He was a leading expert on bear biology, and conducted research on killer whales and Antarctic seals, eventually completing seven research tours of Antarctica.
Erickson was an Associate Professor with the University of Idaho in Moscow; Curator of Mammals for the Bell Museum at the University of Minnesota and Regional Director of Fish and Game in Anchorage, Alaska, before coming to the University of Washington where he was Professor Emeritus in the Department of Fisheries.
In addition to his academic career, he had a busy political life. He was an active Republican and once served as mayor of Yarrow Point, a small marina community on Lake Washington.
In retirement, he may have been busier than he was prior to it; he became a rancher, a farmer, and the director of a hunting club, and at 74, he decided on a new fitness regiment; he took up decathlon.
Always fit and athletic, he said at the time that running and exercising for the sake of exercise bored him terribly; he needed competition to stay motivated.
He trained himself mostly out of books, and with the help of a son, who is also a decathlete. Erickson became the Washington State, U.S. and World decathlon champion for his age group, winning the gold at the World Masters Athletic Championships in Sacramento at the age of 82.