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John David “Dave” Erickson

Obituary Date: Wednesday, October 26, 2022
John David “Dave” Erickson of Gainesville, Georgia, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, October 26, 2022, after a brief illness. He was 82 years old.
Dave was born on August 20, 1940, in Woodville, Texas to Earling Lester Erickson and Harriett Rapley Erickson. He is predeceased by his wife, Patricia Irene ter Borg Erickson, his wife, Mary Ellen Pratt Erickson, and his son, David Gordon Erickson.
Dave is survived by his devoted partner of 15 years Virginia “Ginna” Seitz of Atlanta, GA; daughter, Karen Erickson Sherman (Harry) of Greenville, SC; son, Ian Patrick Erickson of Conyers, GA; and stepson, Timothy Pratt (Sarah) of Atlanta, GA
One of Dave’s greatest joys was his grandchildren. He was known affectionately as Papa to Emily Sherman Alderson (Matthew), Margaret Anne Sherman Colberg (Michael), Thomas Hayes Sherman (Ella), Lilian Mary Pratt, Cooper Dyer Pratt, and great-grandson
Barrett Davis Alderson. He is also survived by his sister, Louise Hyndman of Ladner, BC, brother-in-law, Richard ter Borg (Lyn) of Vancouver, BC, and brother-in-law, Matthew ter Borg (Lynn) of Wolfville, NS.
Dave attended High School in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Upon graduation, he attended the University of Alberta, earning a degree in Dental Medicine in 1964 and enjoying many close friendships in Delta Upsilon fraternity. Dave practiced dentistry in Calgary, Alberta from 1964-1968 while his wife, Pat, worked by his side. In 1969, Dave left his dental practice and earned a Master’s degree in Dental Public Health from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of Washington in 1972. From 1972-1974 he was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and International Health, School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of Washington. Dave was soon recruited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer in the Birth Defects Branch. This marked the beginning of a remarkable 28-year career with the CDC. Dave was a brilliant man who was humble about his contributions to public health.
During Dave’s career at the CDC, he primarily studied risk factors for birth defects and how to prevent them. The CDC provided incomparable opportunities to work on several fronts, leading to the prevention of spina bifida and anencephaly through increased consumption of folic acid. Collaborating on the design and conduct of the massive community intervention in China was an incredible experience. Dave also evaluated the dangers of community water fluoridation (Down syndrome, cancers) and studied the adverse health effects of military service in Vietnam, specifically from the notorious herbicide, “agent orange.” Dave served on the Surgeon General’s Advisory Committee on the Health Consequences of Using Smokeless Tobacco, and the VA’s Advisory Committee on Health Related Effects of Herbicides. He also served as the Chairperson of the International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Monitoring Systems and as Chair of the Scientific Oversight Committee of the Hungarian randomized controlled trial of vitamin use and spina bifida.
Dave’s distinguished career exemplifies that of a great scientist, leader, and public health professional. He received many public health service awards for his contributions and published over 100 research papers in professional journals.
During Dave’s retirement, he enjoyed 20 years with family and friends. One of his favorite ways to spend time was boating on Lake Lanier and enjoying the many friendships he made at the University Yacht Club, where he was Commodore in 2002. He was passionate about international travel, photography, birding, and woodworking.
To celebrate Dave’s life, a memorial service will be held at the University Yacht Club, 6649 Yacht Club Road, Flowery Branch, GA on Wednesday, November 16th at 1:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to “Just” People, Inc., 1412 Oakbrook Drive, Norcross, Georgia 30093.
Memorial Park Funeral Home, 2030 Memorial Park Road, Gainesville, GA  30504 is in charge of arrangements.
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Funeral Date
11/16/2022 at 1:00PM
Funeral Home
Memorial Park Funeral Home and Cemetery and Crematory
2030 Memorial Park Road, Gainesville, GA 30504