Dennis Wade Erickson - Morris Nilsen Funeral Chapel

December 25, 1948 - December 11, 2022

Dennis Wade Erickson passed away at the age of 73 with loved ones at his side on December 11, 2022. Denny was born on Christmas Day 1948 in Beloit, Wisconsin to Magnus and Evelyn (Nystedt) Erickson. The family moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota when Denny was a baby. He graduated from Southwest High School in 1966. Denny graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelors Degree in Political Science and Child Psychology. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from William Mitchell College of Law and was admitted to the Minnesota Bar in 1988.

Denny married his high school sweetheart Sandy (Nelson) in 1969 and the couple settled in Bloomington. They welcomed children Becka, Tom and Jenna. Denny and Sandy built a home in a new housing development in West Bloomington in 1977 and lived there for the next 43 years. In 2019, Denny and Sandy celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a trip to Madden’s Resort in Brainerd. In 2020, they downsized to a one-story condo in Edina.

Denny was first hired at the State of Minnesota in the Department of Human Services (DHS) as an Administrative Analyst I in December 1973. He rose through the ranks over the next 20 years before eventually being named an Assistant Commissioner in 1993, a position he held through his retirement in 2006. During his tenure, Denny was an expert in the area of Data Privacy and went on to testify before the U.S. Congress on the topic. As Assistant Commissioner, he was responsible for DHS Management, Legal, Financial and Healthcare Operations.

Denny and Sandy enjoyed traveling and took many memorable trips. Favorite vacations included Alaska, Hawaii, and London while favorite destinations visited multiple times included Arizona, Colorado, and Washington, D.C. Through family vacations and work trips, Denny managed to visit almost all 50 states. He enjoyed history, particularly American History, political biographies and mystery novels, British mystery shows, cars, and genealogy. His greatest joy, however, was his grand-daughters.

Denny is survived by his wife of 53 years, Sandra; his children, Becka, Tom and Jenna; his grand-daughters Bailey Bonnie, Madelyn and Serena Erickson; his sister Vicki (Ken) Groth; his sisters-in-law Debby Erickson and Toni Nelson; and other family and friends. He is preceded in death by his parents, Magnus and Evelyn Erickson; his parents-in-law Howard and Dorothy Nelson; his brother Jeff Erickson; his brothers-in-law Ron Nelson and Ron Patton; and his sister-in-law Janet Patton.

Memorials may be directed to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Science Museum of Minnesota or to donor's choice.


  1. Marilyn says:

    My thought and prayers are with you, Sandy and with Becca, Tom and Jenna. I have good memories of the times I met and talked to Denny over the years. He will always live on in your heart. Love to all.

  2. Deb Varner says:

    My condolences to the family of Denny Erickson. I worked with Denny at the Department of Human Services and he was truly a mentor for me that had a lasting impact throughout my work life. His guidance as a commissioner and public servant was invaluable to the work at DHS. Sandy – I am so sorry for your loss. Way too young!
    Deb Varner

  3. Chuck Johnson says:

    Condolences to Sandy and all of Denny’s family. I worked with Denny at DHS for many years, including shared time in agency leadership. I admired his ability to get things done and to break down barriers to make DHS a better organization. He was dedicated to human services and the mission of the agency. And, he was a great guy to sit down and just talk about whatever. DHS and the state of Minnesota owe a debt of gratitude to Denny.

  4. Beth Voigt says:

    I, too, had the pleasure of working with Denny at DHS. He was passionate about his work and the people we serve. He was also fiercely loyal to his colleagues. My condolences to your family. May you find peace in the days ahead.

Leave a Condolence Message:

Condolence messages are moderated by our staff and therefore may take up to 48 hours to appear. Thank you for your patience.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *