Richwood Lutheran Church, located in rural Detroit Lakes, will be celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2022 - and for nearly one third of that time, the congregation has been listening to music performed by the same organist.
Jean Smith Erickson first started playing organ for the church's Sunday services 45 years ago, in 1974. In addition, she assists with choir rehearsals, Sunday school programs, and any other special music needs that the congregation may have. She was also elected secretary of the church council in February. Erickson was recently honored by the congregation for her dedication to the church during its Sunday services.
Richwood Lutheran Church started in 1872. After the church's first organ was purchased in 1890, there were five organists over the next 15 years.
Since then, there have only been three others: Christine Gandrud, who played from 1904 to 1954; Doris Erickson, from 1954 to 1974; and now Jean Erickson.
Jean, who has been married to David Erickson for the past 46 years, works for the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce. She first began working there 37 years ago. She and her husband have two children and six grandchildren.