Erik G. Engen, of Cottage Grove, passed away at age 63 on May 27 at RiverBend Medical Center, with his wife and close friends around him. His health had been gradually declining over the past couple of years.
He was born to Per Engen and Dorothy (Clementsen) Engen in Loma Linda, California on August 17, 1954.He graduated from California State University at Los Angeles with a business degree and worked in real estate around LA for a while. He also got a degree in electronics from Chaffey College, which went along with his awesome ability to fix almost anything. Later on, he also taught himself the intricacies of trading commodities and spent a year doing that. Most recently, he worked for Eugene 4J School District before retiring in March.
True to his Viking heritage, he loved all kinds of adventures. He was a certified SCUBA diver, and also spent time surfing at Huntington Beach, sailing to Catalina Island, skiing at Mammoth Mountain and Big Bear, and riding motorcycles with his brother, Tor, in the San Gabriel Mountains. He went panning for gold in Mexico with his friend John, and also spent two summers on Amchitka Island, Alaska, working for his uncle, a government contractor, dismantling structures around the site of underground nuclear bomb detonations a few years earlier.
He moved to Oregon in 1989 and met Denise Seitz Brady in 1991 when both were starting jobs at Sacred Heart Hospital. They were partners for 27 years, married for 18 of those, and enjoyed remodeling and other kinds of projects around the property; swimming and biking at nearby Cottage Grove Lake; trips to the coast and Cascades for hiking, camping, and sightseeing; and driving all over western Oregon for concerts, quilt shows, car shows, lavender festivals, and other fun things. One special adventure was buying a 20-foot ocean-going sailboat and hauling it back from Lake Tahoe. Downtime included watching episodes of This Old House and Gold Rush; enjoying the deer, crows, and hummingbirds that gathered around the field; and making a loving home for 10 cats over the years. He started growing his first garden at age 7 and enjoyed having one almost every year since, and when he planted sunflowers for a few years, some of them grew more than 10 feet tall.
He is survived by his wife, Denise Brady Engen; his brothers, Tor Engen and Chris Engen; several nieces and nephews; several cousins and other relatives in Norway; and four beloved cats. He was preceded in death by his parents; his favorite uncle, Ed Clementsen; and also by Shanti, his rescue dog from LA, and six kitties. His friends and co-workers enjoyed his quiet, but sometimes quirky personality, and he will truly be missed.
A celebration of Erik’s life will take place Saturday, June 30 at 2 pm at his and Denise’s home. For directions, call 541-913-8590. Please wear your favorite beach shirt to honor our surfer boy, and please bring a lawn chair; carpooling is encouraged.
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there; I did not die.
(Mary Elizabeth Frye, 1932)