Steven Walter Erlandson ("Wally")
September 1, 1946 - November 14, 2019
Our beloved Steve passed away unexpectedly on November 14, 2019. He will be dearly missed by his friends and family, especially those who did not have a chance to say goodbye.
Steve was born in Salt Lake City to parents Otto Douglas Erlandson and Adelaide Mae Erlandson. He grew up in Sunnyside, Washington, when his father worked in Richland. He graduated from Sunnyside High School in 1965, and then went on to get a bachelor's degree in history with a minor in German from the University of Washington (1968). He then served a tour of duty in Vietnam, an experience he was happy to leave behind. Further education included a two-year technical training program at North Seattle Community College where he got his programming credentials using his veteran's benefits. Also taking advantage of his veteran's benefits, Steve took additional dance classes, with an emphasis on folk dance through the University of Washington dance program, and happily performed at Meany Hall many times.
Steve then worked for a number of firms and organizations, such as the Westin Hotel downtown Seattle, the Bellevue School District, Boeing, Multiple Zones, and Nordstrom, the company he retired from in 2017. Before his retirement at age 70, Steve travelled widely, with dance troupes, friends, and family. He loved to see new places, but also made a point to regularly visit his family and friends. Working until 70 allowed him to set aside a budgeted amount each year for his post-retirement travel fund, which he intended to use and did for continued travels. What many of Steve's friends didn't know is that he worked his entire life after high school with never a break until retirement. When people questioned whether he knew how to retire, he expressed confidence in his ability to stay busy and happy in retirement. He had waited a long time and knew himself well.
From his 20s onward, Steve became very close to the Danka Kasprzyk / Dan Montao family, including Ina (Genya), Yska (Danny), and Andrzej. His chosen family was his go-to home for holidays, trips, and milestone celebrations; with Steve gladly acting as godfather to their oldest daughter Ina, and as officiant at Yska and Danny's and Ina and Genya's weddings. Steve also had close family relationships with his cousins in both the New York City area (the Hargrave clan) and Salt Lake City (the Gilson family). Steve's parents and his brother Douglas (Skip) predeceased him.
Steve was enthusiastic about all of the performing arts, with dancing being a particular interest. After trying his hand at professional dancing in Philadelphia, he came back to Seattle and took leadership roles in two notable performing dance troupes: Radost Folk Ensemble and Polanie Polish Dance Group. He also adored musical theater and loved traveling to New York to visit family and catch all the latest shows and then share his recommendations back home in Seattle. Other interests included attending theatre and dance performances at many Seattle area theatres, reading (much history and other nonfiction), as well as travel and adventure. Thankfully, he was able to continue his strong travel interest in the States and abroad with friends and on his own after his retirement.
Steve was a wonderful friend to many people and was one of the warmest people any of us knew. Many who had met him only once or twice commented on what a gentleman and a gentle man he was, full of kindness and warmth; always willing to help a friend. His infectious smile and laughter could light up a room or any other locale. He was ever joyful with a good dose of prankster thrown in. We can imagine him dancing among the stars now that he is gone.
Steve, you left us far too soon, and far too quickly.
We will miss you beyond words.
Donations in Steve's name can be addressed to the 5th Avenue Theater and/or Pacific Northwest Ballet.
As per Steve's request, he will be cremated in a witnessed cremation, on Tuesday Dec. 3, at Emmick's Crematory, Kent, WA.
A Celebration of Life will be scheduled in the future.
In the meantime, a website (https://photos.app.goo.gl/gGB8jC7mv278uFnD6) has been created where photos of Steve / Wally, can be posted, to be shared and enjoyed by all of his friends and his family.
Please share memories of Steve on the online tribute page located above.
Arrangements entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral & Cremation Services of Seattle.
To send flowers to Steven's family, please visit our floral section.