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Woman who went to summer camp for eight decades dies, age 96

Published: 10/19/2021 1:59:53 PM

NEEDHAM, Mass. — Alice Erickson, a Massachusetts woman who for eight decades went to a YMCA-owned summer camp on an island in New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee, has died. She was 96.

Erickson, dubbed the unofficial queen of the camp, went there since 1934 when she was nine. Her tenure stretched until 2019, when she was 94, except for a few missed summers because of World War II and one cross-country road trip, The Boston Globe reported.

“She was the matriarch,” said Kate Lemay, executive director of YMCA of Greater Boston overnight camps.

Erickson died of cancer at home Thursday in the North Hill Retirement Community in Needham. She previously had lived in Wellesley.

Erickson even met her husband, Harold Erickson, at the camp during one of her summer stints.

The couple were married in 1952 and had four children who also became campers. Not only did their children become regular campers, their grandchildren did as well. Her father was the first to make regular summer visits to Sandy Island, back when it was a men-only summer camp.

Outside of her identity as an avid camper, Erickson worked as a clerk at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, where she handled payroll for the housekeeping staff, her children said.

Including her four children, Erickson leaves seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

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