Richard Lee Erickson, “Moose”, passed away unexpectedly on May 26, 2022, at age 57. He was born August 11, 1964 in Webster, South Dakota as the youngest of 7 children. He was baptized and confirmed at St. Anthony’s Church in Bristol, South Dakota and attended school at Bristol Public School. He was an avid basketball player in high school and was known as “Rick the Stick.”
After graduating high school, Moose went into the Navy. He spent two years in a rigorous nuclear power training program where less than half of the class graduated. He then went on to be a nuclear reactor operator for the USS Skate Submarine in 1985. It was on that submarine that he was given his renowned nickname, Moose. In his career in the Navy, Moose visited many countries concentrated in East Asia and Northeast Russia. He spent most of his career in Pearl Harbor and finished out doing shore duty. Moose spent 11 years serving our country in the Navy from 1982-1993.
Following the Navy, Moose moved on to Rocky Flats in Colorado where he started his career in decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) of nuclear waste from manufacturing facilities. Moose spent roughly 10 years at Rocky Flats before transferring to Tennessee in 2004 to start working on D&D at the Oakridge National Laboratory where the Manhattan Project took place. Moose and his crew were pivotal in the demolition of facilities, like K-25, by safely removing nuclear products and waste. The most important thing to Moose was safety, and he did everything in his power to ensure the safety of his crew throughout his working career.
To know Moose was to love him. His sense of humor was unmatched, and his massive heart was just as big. He was the guy who would extend his kindness to anyone who needed it, and he also never missed an opportunity to crack a funny joke. He was a bright light in this world and was truly a special soul. Moose will forever be remembered for his service to our country and the big impact he made on everyone’s lives he touched. He will be greatly missed by his many family members, friends, and colleagues.
Moose is survived by his wife, Kathy Erickson; his daughter, Nicole (Colby) Maddux; his mother, Lorraine Erickson, his sisters, Karen (Wes) Nolte, Shirley Jones, Joyce Lentz, and Judy Zetah; his sister-in-laws, Helen Erickson and Liann Erickson; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. He is preceded in death by his father, Kenneth Erickson; his brothers, Larry Erickson and Eugene Erickson; his brother-in-law, Cy Lentz; and his nephew Jason Nolte.