Charles F. Erickson, president of the foundation that built alumni centers at 13 public and private colleges and universities in West Virginia, died July 4. He was 81.
Erickson was the son of Charlie O. Erickson. Starting in the Logan County community of Man and later in Parkersburg, they built Durfees Cable Co. into the largest cable operation in West Virginia. Charles Erickson also built cable systems in Virginia, Kentucky, and Michigan.
After his father's death in 1993, Charles Erickson formed the Erickson Foundation to build alumni centers at institutions of higher learning in West Virginia. Thirteen have been built, including at West Virginia University and Marshall University.
In 2011, Erickson was inducted into the Order of Vandalia, WVU's highest honor. In 2005 he was named Mountaineer of the Year. He he received an honorary doctorate of humanities from Concord University in 2013.
Erickson is survived by his wife, Laurie; two sons, Charles II of Washington, N.C., and Brandon of Boca Raton, Fla.; one grandson; two sisters and several nieces and nephews.
Steve Douglas, president and CEO of the West Virginia University Foundation, issued the following statement on July 5:
"Today we lost a wonderful man and loyal Mountaineer. Charles Erickson loved WVU and he and his family were long-time supporters of our alma mater. As you may know, our beautiful alumni home bears the Erickson name, as do numerous alumni centers throughout the state. He and his family appreciated the work that we do and he was a constant cheerleader of those efforts. And he was one of the kindest, sweetest people you will ever meet. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Laurie and the rest if his family. RIP Charles; you are forever a Mountaineer."