In the darkness of a suicide, cyclists light a way

I don’t know if you can see the video of what happened around Keller Park last night, Facebook settings being what they are and all, but it was a pretty astounding statement that a man who took his own life last fall mattered, and his loss is a loss for us all.

The metaphor was unmistakable. In the darkness of a January night, dozens of bike riders lit a light.

They rode for Ben Erickson, Jeremy Sartain reported on his Facebook page.

This is Ben Erickson:

And this was his life and the talents we lost:

Benjamin M. Erickson, 30 of Minneapolis, formerly of New London, died unexpectedly Saturday, September 5, 2015. Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m. Saturday September 12, 2015 at the Evangelical Covenant Church in New London. Visitation will be from 5-9 p.m. Friday at the church and for one hour prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred. Arrangements are with the Johnson Funeral Home in New London. 320-354-2211 www.hafh.org

Benjamin Michael Erickson was born on November 27th, 1984 in Moorhead, MN to Michael & Connie Erickson. From the moment he came into the world, he brought joy to all he met. Ben & his family moved to Willmar, MN, at the age of five where he attended kindergarten at Community Christian School. They then moved to New London, MN where he attended 1st through 12th grade, graduating in 2003 from New London-Spicer High School. He was confirmed at the Evangelical Covenant Church of New London, and was an active member of the church’s youth program and music leadership. He continued his education at Southwest Minnesota State in Marshall, MN, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2007 with a degree in English Literature, a minor in Psychology and completion of the Honors Program. Ben was also the recipient of the SMSU Alumni Association 2007 Outstanding Senior Award. For two years after graduating, Ben worked at Como Park High School for Admission Possible, where he helped underprivileged students prepare and apply for college. He also worked at Freewheel Bike and most recently at the Hub Bicycle Co-op where he was a worker-owner and manager of their U of M Bike Center location. Throughout his life Ben had many interests, all of which he tackled with abundant enthusiasm. During his school years he played basketball, was in band, cross country, & track. He began playing guitar in high school and explored any and every opportunity to make and share music with others. He was also an avid cyclist; recognized, known, and loved by nearly every bicyclist in Minneapolis.
Ben was full of infectious joy and unreserved love, and was a best friend to anyone in his presence. He was a precious son, brother, godfather, grandson, nephew, cousin, and generous friend.

Benjamin is survived by his parents, Michael and Connie (Olson) Erickson of New London; brother, Christopher & wife Sarah Erickson of Minneapolis; grandparents, James and Marilyn Erickson of Alexandria, MN and Malcolm Olson of Melfort SK; aunts, Pam Wilke of Watertown, WI, Pattie (Larry) Peterson of Wetaskiwin, AB and Elaine (David) Johnson of Durban, MB; uncle, Marvin (Gwynne) Olson of Saskatoon, SK; and loving cousins and countless friends. He was preceded in death by his grandmother, Ella Olson and uncle, Bob Wilke.

Photo courtesy of Bonnie Gagnon.