Nancy Ann Erickson, formerly of Leonia, NJ, died August 13, 2022 in Denver, CO. She was predeceased by her beloved husband John Erickson, who died August 3, 2022.
Born April 26, 1933 to Oscar and Anna Olson, Nancy Ann was raised in Kingsford and Iron Mountain, Michigan. An outstanding student, she won a full-ride scholarship from the Ford Motor Company and attended Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. It was there that she met the love of her life, John. They were on the College’s nationally-touring debate team and did theater together. Nancy and John married a year after graduation.
Nancy taught English to 8th graders in East Moline, Illinois while John attended the Augustana Theological Seminary. They lived in Canada and northern Minnesota as part of his pastoral residency, and became very interested in living in Asia. After John’s ordination as a Lutheran minister, they became missionaries in Tokyo, Japan. They traveled there with their three children and had a fourth child while in Tokyo.
Upon their return to the States in 1962, they lived in a new suburb of Minneapolis. In 1965, they moved to Leonia, NJ when John took a job with the American Bible Society. Nancy managed the household, became a painter, and taught English as a second language, especially to Japanese women newly arrived in the US. She was very active in the community, particularly as a member of the League of Women Voters. In 1974 she began working at J. Walter Thompson, embarking on a successful career as an advertising copywriter.
At NW Ayer / Ayer Direct, Nancy was a copywriter and supervisor on the US Army account. Her team was responsible for the “Be All You Can Be” campaign, the most successful in Army history. In 1980, she was one of the key participants in founding the International Fund Raising Group, now The Resource Alliance. Begun with 40 people at a weekend workshop on fundraising in Holland, the organization’s conference now attracts over 1,000 attendees and has significantly aided social impact organizations in succeeding in their missions.
In the early 90s, Nancy and John moved to England where John was the General Secretary of the United Bible Societies. Nancy continued freelance copywriting, including writing numerous direct response fundraising packages for City Harvest, an anti-hunger organization in New York City helmed by her daughter Julia. Those packages raised hundreds of thousands of dollars that helped feed tens of thousands of hungry New Yorkers.
Nancy traveled with John across the world, touching down on six continents during their lives. Her favorite city was Rome and her favorite countries were England, China, and Switzerland. Nancy loved Wellfleet on Cape Cod, where she and her family vacationed for 40 years and where she painted numerous beachscapes. She and John also traveled with a great group of friends through much of Europe.
When they retired, Nancy and John returned to Leonia. In the mid-2000’s, Nancy and John moved to Crawford, Nebraska, where Nancy’s brother and sister-in-law lived. They built a beautiful home overlooking the buttes and continued to travel and entertain. Nancy and her sister-in-law Cassandra Moody were the prime movers in revitalizing the Western Wildlife Art Show at Fort Robinson. Nancy was a gifted interior designer, cook and baker. She made all guests feel like they were at home. She had a wicked sense of humor, loved playing cards and dominos, and told the best jokes and family stories. We will miss her terribly.
Nancy is survived by her children, Alana Coble (Rick), Julia Erickson, John Erickson (Susi), Ron Erickson (Laura) and three grandchildren: Ana, Julia and Helen. In addition to her husband John, Nancy was predeceased by grandson, David Coble.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, October 1, 2022, at 11 a.m. at Leonia Methodist Church, 396 Broad Avenue, Leonia, NJ 07605.