Erik H. Skulstad of Goodyear, Arizona passed away July 31, 2023 in Goodyear. He was born January 4, 1970 in San Francisco, California to James Skulstad and Sue Hollingsworth. He was preceded in death by his father James L. Skulstad and step-father Sherman Layne Lerud.
He is survived by his wife Jennifer Lynn Skulstad, son Benjamin Forbes Skulstad, daughters Catherine Anne Skulstad and Margaret May Skulstad, his mother Sue Anne Lerud, and sister Holly Anne Skulstad Rogers.
Erik grew up in Carson City, Nevada where he graduated from high school. He moved to Phoenix soon after graduating and began taking classes to become a drafter. Later, he earned his MS in geotechnical engineering from ASU. Erik and Jennifer were married on January 20, 2001 (Erik said he picked the date so it would be harder for Jennifer to forget 01202001). They were married at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens by their good friend Link Spooner. Together, Erik and Jennifer raised their three children. While he was in college, Erik fell in love with Australia and New Zealand and eventually moved the family to Christchurch, New Zealand for three years. Erik also travelled to Mexico, England, Canada, and France. But the goal was to retire to Hawaii near Poipu Beach in Kauai.
During his professional life, Erik worked at Terracon and loved that company and the people there. But he sometimes missed the technical challenges he was able to sink his teeth into during his work for Kiewit. Before that he worked for SKM in New Zealand. He started his professional career at Agra Earth and Environmental where he met his mentors and worked alongside drill rigs, learning a great deal in the field.
Erik didn’t sit down until after dinner. He was up and doing things all the time. He maintained the “house and grounds” but really enjoyed working on his Landy (1977 Series 2 right-hand drive Land Rover). Not just fixing it, which was often, but also, he built a console for it and a speaker box, he added jump seats, and loved driving it around with the kids and meeting people who asked about it (they brought it back with them from New Zealand). He met one of his best friends while filling it with gas!
Erik also loved to camp. The family camped on Pohara Beach, Lake Powell, Canyon Lake, and at the Grand Canyon. He loved canoeing down the Colorado River starting below the Hoover Dam, stopping to camp and visit the hot springs along the way. The 3-day trips included paddling, camping, and then paddling the rest of the way. He taught the kids to kayak and had been looking forward to lots more trips to the lake with the family. He liked to fish in fresh water and in the sea. He once went off-shore fishing with three British friends, who all got sea sick while Erik was fine. He joked that they were from an island and should have been better on a boat than him. He never got seasick. His step-dad, Sherman, had several boats and took Erik out on them often, teaching him to drive a boat, a jet ski, and even a houseboat. Sherman, was key to the man Erik became. Sherman once came to our house for a week and helped Erik put in a sprinkler system, even running it under the driveway!
In years when Erik worked in an office, he often commuted to work on his bike. The first year of that, he biked about 2k miles. He loved mountain biking too and was able to bike the Queen Charlotte Track in New Zealand with some dear friends. The trip was the highlight of his biking adventures.
In his “down time” Erik loved to watch Star Wars (especially episode 4) and Star Trek (but you better not get the two confused!). His favorite author was Chuck Palahniuk, and he and Jennifer would frequently watch and quote the “Fight Club” movie. Erik even named his tumor “Marla!”(Erik had a dry sense of humor) He enjoyed listening to classic rock and country, acoustic jazz, and the punk and 80’s music he grew up with. He also loved to hang out with his dogs, Boris and Cookie. And he would care for Benjamin’s parakeet Chip and his axolotls Al, Dusty, and Frawsty. To the consternation of his Minnesota family, Erik was a Green Bay Packer’s fan and would root for his team when they played.
When Sherman passed away a few years ago, Erik struggled. He recently told Jennifer he was looking forward to seeing people who had passed away before him and we know he was thinking of Sherman and his beloved cousin, Ryan – who had been like a brother to him.
Erik’s proudest achievement were his children. He loved them so very much. In his own words, he loved watching Cate “being an adult,” watching Maggie dance, and “Fun Facts” by Benjamin. He loved to bring his wife coffee in the morning.
Erik was a marvelous husband, father, and man. His passing leaves a gaping hole in our hearts.
A visitation and memorial service will begin at 7pm, Saturday, August 19 at Thompson Funeral. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.