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George Erickson: Generous, loving wife was my constant support

George and Sally Erickson on their 50th wedding anniversary in 2006. Sally died Sept. 17, 2021, and George donated $400,000 to charities and organizations in her honor.

By George Erickson

Last fall, when my beloved wife for 65 wonderful years entered hospice care, we decided that she should make a list of charities that she wanted to support when she died. That list grew to at least 20 local, regional and national charities (including FFRF) that would receive a total of $400,000, an amount made possible by her being a consummate homemaker and devoted mother to our two fine sons plus her constant support of every project I undertook. Without that support, none of this would have been possible.

Sally was raised as a Presbyterian, so we were married in 1956 in her church. However, we left when its conservative board “fired” our liberal pastor.

For more than 30 years, I practiced dentistry in Worthington, Minn., while she conscientiously “kept our home fires burning.”

Always the homebody who loved cooking, sewing and reading a wide range of nonfiction books and promoting liberal issues, she supported my pursuit of a private pilot’s license and my 38 mid-summer flights in the far North that led to my first book, the bestseller True North: Exploring the Great Wilderness by Bush Plane, plus many articles on aviation and presentations in most of the major cities in the United States and Canada. “You should go,” she’d always say. “Have fun and be safe.”

True North led to four more books: Time Traveling with Science and the Saints, Back to the Barrens, Eyes Wide Open: Living, Laughing, Loving And Learning In A Religion-Troubled World and Unintended Consequences: The Lie the Killed Millions and Accelerated Climate Change.  

In honor of her constant support for the thousands of solitary hours I needed to write these books, I have made True North and my image-rich Unintended Consequences (which is my most important book), available free from the home page of my website (

When I retired, we moved to New Brighton, Minn., where I became president of the Minnesota Humanists, the VP of the American Humanist Association, a board member of the New Brighton Environmental Quality Commission and the VP of the Minnesota Seaplane Pilots Association, all of which took time away from home, again with her support.

In 2004, we moved to a lake home near Virginia, Minn., where I grew up, but where she knew no one. Although she was far from her roots, this generous, thoughtful person fully agreed with donating $170,000 to Virginia’s indoor tennis project and $150,000 to the Virginia school district, with lesser amounts to other deserving charities during her lifetime.

They say that “Behind every successful man stands a surprised wife,” which might be true for some, but for me it should say, “Behind this man stood a helpful, generous and loving homemaker whose support and encouragement made his achievements possible and his life worth living.”

Praise for Unintended Consequences

Dr. George Erickson, author of Unintended Consequences: The Lie That Killed Millions and Accelerated Climate Change, is a member of a group of about 80 independent physicists, engineers, energy experts and others who are deeply concerned about climate change, the environment and energy issues. You can contact Erickson at To read the book for free, go to

Dr. James Hansen, former chief climate scientist at NASA, now climate scientist at Columbia: “Your writing is brilliant and so clear.”

Dr. Martin Goodman: “Unintended Consequences is excellent. I am impressed with your well documented writing.”

Dr. Rod Coenen: “Unintended Consequences is rational thought for those seeking a sustainable planet. Thank you for spelling it out in lay language.”