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Obituary: Arval Lewis Erikson

Arval Lewis Erikson

1909 ~ 2007

Arval Lewis Erikson, age 98, a long-term resident of Madison, died September 26, 2007 in Waunakee, Wisconsin, where he had resided for four years. Arval was born in Rexburg, Idaho, September 21, 1909 the son of Alexander Erikson and Elizabeth Isabell Parker, and spent his younger years working on their farm. He attended Ricks College in Rexburg, and then taught and served as principal at several primary schools in Idaho. He went back to farming when his father fell ill, continuing there until his older brother took over the operation. He returned to school and graduated in Economics from the University of Idaho in Moscow in 1937. He married Lygia Doney Parkinson in the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on September 7, 1937, after which he attended Iowa State University, completing his M.A. and all but his Ph.D. dissertation in Agricultural Economics in 1940. He was assistant professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of New Hampshire from 1940-42. When the U.S. entered World War II, Arval was recruited into the war-time Office of Price Administration (OPA) to develop a national system of domestic meat rationing including production, distribution, and pricing, to insure American and allied troops would have sufficient meat protein in their diets to win the war. This was one of the least popular jobs in the wartime government because of its necessary impact on every civilian's diet. Except for two years with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Arval continued serving as a key part of the Roosevelt and Truman administrations through most of the Korean War.

In 1953, Arval was hired by Oscar Mayer and Co., and he and the family moved to Madison. At first he worked in government relations, regulatory and contract compliance, and procurement of livestock and meat. Because of his economic skills Arval also was involved in long-range planning.

He served as economic advisor and as a vice-president of Economics, Long-Range Planning and Acquisitions until he retired in 1974.

After retirement, he traveled extensively with Lygia to Israel and Palestine; to Europe a few times where some of the trips involved searching for family origins; and with the International Executive Service Corps as a consultant in South and Central America, Japan, and Thailand, assisting in the development of meat processing and packing industries in these countries.

Throughout his life, Arval has been a devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was branch president and bishop of the Madison Ward from 1954-1971 during which time he was instrumental in building the Madison chapel at the corner of Regent and Segoe. He was president of the Beloit Wisconsin Stake from 1975-1982, a counselor in the presidency of the Milwaukee Wisconsin Mission from 1982-1984, and Patriarch in the Madison Wisconsin Stake from 1982 -1997. He and Lygia filled a mission at the Chicago Temple from 1987-1989.

Arval also was a longtime member of Rotary International, an active supporter of local schools, the Madison Youth Symphony, the Methodist Hospital, and many other community programs.

Arval is survived by his five children, Joan (Timothy) Paine of Grand Junction, Colorado, currently serving in the Cape Town South Africa Mission, Steven (Jennifer) of Palisade, CO, Elizabeth (Gordon) Thomasson of Vestal, New York, Eileen of Madison, and Roger (Diane) of Idaho Springs, Colorado. He is also survived by two sisters, Amy Willis of Mesa, AZ, and Ruth (Dale) Clark of Bountiful, UT; 10 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Lygia; six brothers and three sisters.

Funeral services were held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4505 Regent Street (corner of Regent and Segoe) at 10:30 a.m., Monday, October 1, 2007.