W.Va. businessman, philanthropist Erickson dies

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Charles F. Erickson, a businessman who established alumni centers on college and university campuses across West Virginia, has died in Florida.


Boynton Memorial Chapel in Boynton Beach, Fla., confirmed Saturday that Erickson died Thursday, July 4. The Dominion Post reports Erickson was 81.


A cause of death was not listed.


Born in Man, Erickson and his father, C.O. Erickson, built Durfees Cable Co. into the largest cable operation in the state.


In 1993, after his father’s death, Charles Erickson created the Erickson Foundation to establish centers on the state’s college and university campuses where alumni could find an open door after they graduated.


The centers also kept alums connected with their alma maters.


There are now 13 Erickson alumni centers on campuses throughout West Virginia.


David C. Hardesty, president emeritus of West Virginia University, said Erickson understood “how much college graduates love their alma maters.”


“He will be missed,” said Hardesty, a friend of the Erickson family.


Steve Douglas, president and CEO of the WVU Alumni Association, issued a statement on Erickson’s death. “He and his family appreciated the work that we do, and he was a constant cheerleader of those efforts.”


Douglas added, “He was one of the kindest, sweetest people you will ever meet. RIP Charles; you are forever a Mountaineer.”


After services in Florida, Erickson’s body will be returned to West Virginia for burial at the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery in Parkersburg.


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