Music 04
Official Obituary of

Dennis (Cat) Allen Erickson

December 25, 1946 ~ February 24, 2024 (age 77) 77 Years Old

Dennis (Cat) Erickson Obituary

How do we want to be remembered, when our time is past

Do we want any reminders, that for generations will last

Although Cat was not always audacious; you did not ever dare

To question his knowledge of music; for that he did surely care

Cat only wanted his freedom, and to live on by himself

Forsaking love from others, and scoffing at any wealth

He never wanted much, and would never ask a soul

To help with anything, and eventually it took it’s toll

Cat will fondly be remembered, by those who knew him well

He never made his life easy, but yet an incredible story to tell

It is with a multitude of colourful memories that we remember our brother Cat, the infamous name he inherited before he turned twenty-one; the name everyone knew him as. Born Christmas Day, 1946, Dennis Allen Erickson grew up toiling hard on our farm, north and east of Hines Creek.

I can still recall the seemingly endless hours of picking roots and rocks with Dennis, Wayne, and our late Father, Erling Erickson, the hardest working man I have ever met, a trait passed down to Cat. Through extensive weight lifting, along with tossing bales of hay all summer long, while yet a teenager, Cat developed incredible strength, but was quick and lithe, hence the nick name Cat.

We never had money growing up but thanks to the abundant moose and our Mother’s excellent cooking, we all ate well. Although Father, Wayne and I were the hunters, Cat did, only once, fire a shot at a moose, which was running straight away. Striking it in the back of the head, it was an instant kill! However Cat lent his unreal strength many times to help pack out moose Father and I had harvested. One time we were hunting and I shot a big bull moose 1.5 miles from the nearest access. Father and I had gone in and each had just carried out a very heavy hind leg. In his sing song Norwegian accent voice Father said to me, “Jesus, this is a job for Dennis.” We came home and Father asked Cat to help; Cat asked how bloody far was it in the bush? Father replied “about a quarter mile” to which Cat replied that it was probably half a mile into the bush! Father then told him that he had half a case of premium stock ale and reluctantly Cat came along. Even though he often denied it, Cat was always willing to help out almost anyone. We started off into the bush and after a mile Cat knew he had been mislead by us, and was about to turn back; I convinced him we were nearly there so he continued. When we got to the moose Cat was not happy and said just to load him up. Father and I loaded the complete back, neck and rib cages on Cat’s back and off he went. That load had to weigh well over 300 pounds – a heavy load even for a pack horse! Father and I each grabbed one of the remaining two front legs, weighing maybe 80 or 90 pounds apiece, and followed. When we finally arrived out at the cutline, Cat was already there and had drank all 6 bottles of stock ale that Father had left in a spring to cool!

Along with Cats unreal strength, he possessed a very quick temper. Coupled with his penchant for drinking in bars, in his earlier years, he was unsuccessfully tested by many, and gained himself quite a reputation.

Cat was a fiery man but with a kind heart; gruff to the extreme on the outside, soft within. I was fortunate to closely witness both sides of Cat for over four decades, as he excelled in many challenging supervisory positions, in Canada and overseas. But it was those earlier years, during summers in the mountains, that bring back to me the fondest memories, some quite humorous. Almost every evening the crew and I would sit around a fire, drinking a few beers, as Cat serenaded us all with his guitar and many songs.

I remember back then we were hand cutting up on Livingstone mountain, trying to navigate some very steep terrain. Cat was very proficient with a power saw and volunteered to try to cut down a gorge and back up the other side, but he wanted to take extra oil and gas with him. However, I told him the trees were sparse, and if he didn’t try to do too good of a job, he would be able to make it back up the other side. Well two thirds of the way across he ran out of fuel, as he knew he would, and went wild. He was grabbing trees and pulling them out of the ground, throwing them a huge distance. I grabbed a saw full of fuel and flew into land beside him. Clint Armstrong was our pilot but he was afraid to land near Cat for fear he would damage the copter but I assured him that Cat’s anger would soon pass and that he was harmless. We landed our AStar and I stepped out of the machine; Cat was just glaring at me. I told him lunch was ready up on top and I will finish this off. He didn’t say a word, just walked past, jumped into the copter, and off they went! So many people who did not know Cat well were afraid of him due to his gruff nature, however others, including Sharon and David, along my granddaughter Tradyn, knew it was mostly just for show.

Much later it was in Romania, where Cat inspired the crew with his guitar and songs. With his long time girlfriend Lorraine, they took Cat’s best trip ever, as they journeyed around Ireland for a month.

In later years we would spend a decade together in Osoyoos at the Regal Ridge development. It was there that my late son Jason developed a great relationship with Cat, as did Ryan.

But above all it was Cat’s love of music, a passion shared by our whole family, that epitomized his greatest abilities and achievements. Cat was an exceptional guitar player; he knew hundreds of chords. As well he composed dozens of songs; his best, a song for his first love, Laura; I still recall the beautiful lyrics today. His unbelievable recall of songs, artists, and guitar players, still amazes us all. But perhaps most will remember Cat for his sharp mind and uncanny knowledge of world history, and particularly, of the Vikings.

Unfortunately, many years ago Cat suffered a mild stroke, which relegated his enthusiasm for music to mostly just listening. My son Ryan had always maintained a mutually respectful and warm relationship with Cat. I remember Simone and I meeting up with Ryan and Cat in Prince George for dinner the evening before Arlene’s daughter Mandy’s wedding. Cat liked to tease, although he did not always enjoy being teased back, but didn’t seem to mind it from my wife Simone, whom he always affectionately called the “Dutch Witch.” It was an incredible dinner, one of the best we had ever shared with Cat. I especially noted the gratitude that Cat displayed to Ryan for bringing him out and the depth of feelings Ryan held for Cat; the special bond between them. Next day was also great, Cat visiting with my sister Arlene and her husband Fred Starnes, whom was a close friend of Cat’s before she ever met Fred. Two years ago Fred and Arlene also came up and had a great visit with Cat.

Over five years ago Cat’s health deteriorated significantly, and Ryan selflessly stepped in and graciously looked after Cat, without a whole lot of expressed thanks back, but Ryan knew Cat deeply appreciated everything he did for him, which was A LOT. Our whole family is indebted to Ryan; a testament to Ryan’s unselfish and caring nature; the result of which Cat lived several years longer than most of us expected.

This past October us brothers were able to reunite with Cat and spend a very special time with him; we knew perhaps it would be the last chance we had. We reminisced about the time Cat had built a raft and was rafting down Jack Creek and Wayne took one of his handmade bombs and we threw it in the creek in front of him. When the bomb exploded, the raft lifted nearly 5 feet into the air and Cat literally ran on top of the water to try to catch us. After a lengthy chase, with Cat closing in, Wayne wisely yelled at me to split up and literally scared for my life, I ran a different direction and threw myself behind a log; seconds later Cat shot by with Wayne in his sights. The chase took them up and over Saskatoon Hill with Cat reaching within a few feet of Wayne but eventually unable to overtake him. I was so scared I just lay there and finally, well after dark, Wayne came and found me and said it was safe to return – the Cat was asleep.

My brother Wayne is a consummate singer and mention of it always seemed to rile up Cat, as he never had the voice Wayne had, but that rivalry was set aside during our last reunion. We are all so glad we were able to spend that precious time with Cat, learning even more of our Viking ancestry from him. Our sister Arlene had spent a huge amount of work researching and compiling our history, to which Cat added even more knowledge that he had previously uncovered.

Cat passed peacefully February 24th, 2024, after the last visit by Ryan, whom had been at his bedside off and on for many days. Cat left his last wishes with Ryan; he wanted no service, no fuss, just to be returned to the earth, to the special spots he once walked.

He is survived by his younger brothers Wayne and Adrian Erickson, his sister Arlene Starnes and his daughter Cheri.

Cat left an indelible impression on everyone he ever met; a legend on his own. He will be missed; he will always be remembered with kind thoughts. He was just Cat, who he wanted to be remembered as.

Care entrusted to Peace Valley Funeral Home Fairview


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