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Obituaries » Gordon G. Eriksen

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December 22, 1922 - December 2, 2019

Memorial donations may be directed to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan or the Heritage Community Foundation of Kalamazoo. Per Gordon’s wishes, there will be no services. Burial will take place at Ft. Custer National Cemetery at a later date. Family and friends may share a condolence message online at

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Gordon died December 2, 2019 in Kalamazoo at the age of 96. He was born December 22, 1922 in St. Paul, Minnesota, the middle child of Danish immigrants, Gustav and Ida (Andersen) Eriksen.

Gordon grew up in Graham, Texas. After high school, he began studies at the University of Oklahoma, until WW II intervened. In 1943, he joined the United States Army and served as a teletype operator until his honorable discharge in 1946.

Gordon returned to Oklahoma and earned a B.A. in English and B.F.A. in Drama. He taught high school for several years before earning an M.F.A. and PhD in English Literature at the University of Colorado. Those degrees led to a teaching position at the University of Northern Iowa until Gordon eventually headed to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to earn an M.S. in Library Science.

Employment at Western Michigan University’s School of Library and Information Science brought Gordon to Kalamazoo in 1976. After the School closed, he transferred to the Central Reference Department of the University Libraries. He retired in 1990 but continued his involvement by helping to plan the first Friends of the University Libraries organization. Gordon also mentored students in Kalamazoo Public Schools and served as a volunteer at Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan and Bronson Hospital.

Gordon’s abiding passions were music and travel. He attended every classical music concert in Kalamazoo he could and supported many musical organizations, both financially and as a volunteer. Gordon’s travels took him to Europe, Canada, and every county in the United States, except the four in Hawaii.

Gordon was preceded in death by his siblings, Ruth and Stewart. He is survived by nephew, Scott (Veronica) Eriksen of Bedford, Texas.