Rolf E. Ericson

December 25, 1936November 2, 2018

Rolf E.G. Ericson 1936 - 2018

Rolf Ericson and his family moved to Oneonta in the fall of 1977. Rolf had spent 14 years of working for a Swedish-based international corporation, Atlas Copco, and at 40 was ready for change, and to start out on his own. Faith brought him to Oneonta where Seeley's Ceramics, a ceramic manufacturer, was waiting to find a buyer, as the owners were retiring. Rolf and his wife, Ragnhild, had fallen in love with the Oneonta area during a visit a couple of years earlier - the climate with snow in the winter, the beauty of the land, the people, and the return to small town living. They found a wonderful house outside town, where they lived for 33 years. Rolf was born in wartime Stockholm, Sweden, December 25, 1936. Soon the family moved to Borås, Sweden, where he went to school up through Baccalaureate; graduating in 1955. After graduation Rolf worked with the Johnson Shipping Line, including on board one of their cargo ships on an adventurous round-trip Stockholm/Argentina. He then entered the obligatory Swedish Military Service, Artillery, for fifteen months, long enough to finish as Sergeant. He then worked for General Motors in Stockholm for two years. In 1960 Rolf started post-graduate work in economics and business at the Swedish Stockholm School of Economics. He graduated in 1963, receiving his MBA. That same fall, Rolf married his love, Ragnhild Margareta Oscarsson, and the two of them left Sweden for Spain. During the following 7 years Rolf held the position as VP Finance (CFO) with Atlas Copco AB in Madrid. Thus started their long and happy marriage. During the Spain years, Rolf and Ragnhild had two children, Peter and Karin, both born in Madrid. The fall of 1970, Rolf was transferred to Atlas Copco's US headquarters in New Jersey, as VP Finance and later VP Marketing. As it took Rolf a year to receive the necessary Visa to work in the US, the young family focused on spending weekends crisscrossing Spain, visiting the treasures of that great country, knowing that they had to leave what they had come to love. Around 5 years or so later, Rolf was selected to take over Atlas Copco's South American operations, but he did not accept. Rolf and his wife decided that they wanted to stay in the US. Rolf started to look for a small business. It took him three years of searching, before he left Atlas and purchased Seeley's the summer of 1977. This unique business manufactured porcelain slip, doll bodies, china paints, patterns for doll clothes, and all kinds of needed tools. Molds for slip casting of doll parts were created; a book on how to make porcelain dolls from scratch was offered - a new hobby in creation. Supported by the former owners, Rolf soon learned all the ins and outs of his new venture. Mildred Seeley started writing more books on porcelain dollmaking. Rolf became a ceramic teacher, and a dollmaking organization was born, The Doll Artisan Guild. The first dollmaking magazine was published, The Doll Artisan. The old building on Main Street was fixed up and made into a dollmaking schoolhouse. Instructors traveled to Seeleys' new distributorships to teach the craft to budding dollmakers. The first doll show was held in Oneonta - all the above happened within the first 12 months. More yearly events were held, and grew to Doll Festivals and Conventions. Many were held here at SUCO and at the the Concord, which at peak years welcomed up to a thousand dollmakers from all corners of the globe. Rolf travelled the country searching out ceramic studios that could become dollmaking distributors. He soon started in on the international market and expanded to sell his wares in practically all of Western Europe and Scandinavia, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, South America - and travelled to them all. This suited Rolf to a tee, as he was fluent in Swedish, English, Spanish and German and spoke French and Italian passably. Seeley's Ceramic Service, Inc. received the Governor's Award for Achievement in Export in 1993. Rolf was excited when a tennis club started in Oneonta. Tennis had been Rolf's favorite sport since his teens, and he now had the opportunity to play year around at the new club. He continued this for many, many years and gladly supported the club. Eventually the time came for Rolf and Ragnhild (who worked with Rolf for over 30 years) to sell the business and retire. Rolf died peacefully on Friday November 2nd, 2018. He is survived by his wife Ragnhild (Rangi), his son Peter Ericson and his wife Colleen; his daughter Karin and her husband Michael Goulian; three grandchildren, Emily, Finn and Axel; his brother Martin Ericson; brother Allan Ericson and his wife Mia; his sister-in-law Eva Oscarsson; his brother-in-law Stefan Oscarsson and his wife Lisbet; and several nieces and nephews. - R.M.E. Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday the 10th of November, at Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home, 14 Grand Street, Oneonta. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Alzheimer's Assoc., Leatherstocking Branch, 140 Co Hwy 33, Suite 2, Cooperstown, NY 13326. Online condolences may be made by visiting


  • Memorial Service Saturday, November 10, 2018

Rolf E. Ericson

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Karin Buttigieg

February 6, 2019

I worked at Seeleys for a number of years and knew Rolf and Ragnhild well. I revisited Oneonta in October 2018 and wanted to look both up but had no address or phone number.
My sincere condolences to you, Ragnhild, Peter and Karin. I remember those carefree doll days of the late 80s and early 90s well and fondly.

Karin Buttigieg

Bonnie Bowen

November 11, 2018

He was my BOSS for many a year. I remember him well.
I haven't seen him in many a year. He was a good man.
So very sorry for your loss.

Peter Ericson

November 11, 2018

Rolf was amazing and I will miss him always. This is also a test of this system.

CarolLee Auzins

November 8, 2018

my deepest sympathy

Karlyn Grzymkowski

November 8, 2018

I am so sorry to hear of Rolf's passing. There are so many memories of this man who had such a grand personality and a sparkle in his eye. He was larger than life and his vision helped to create a doll world that has impacted the lives of thousands around the world and continues to this day.

I will remember with fondness the many after-hours meetings at Seeley's where we brainstormed new ideas or a new product until Ragnhild would call and insist he come home. We would rush to the printer each evening for the printout of the day's sales. He would love to invite his staff to a grand meal and celebration after a week of hard work at a show.

To Ragnhild, Peter, Karin and Eva - you all are in my thoughts and prayers at this time. I hope you are celebrating his wonderful life. You all were the very center of his universe. My sincere condolences, Karlyn