Melissa "Mo" Jo Erickson

September 19, 1978June 5, 2013

A Celebration of Life Memorial for Melissa “Mo” Jo Erickson, 34, will be held on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 5:00PM inside the Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion on the University of Washington campus.

Melissa was born in the early morning of Tuesday, September 19, 1978 in Platte Hospital, Platte, South Dakota. After battling a seven-year fight with ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease), Melissa passed away peacefully early Wednesday evening, June 5, 2013 at Bailey-Boushay House in Seattle, Washington with family and close friends present.

Melissa lived the first years of her life in Platte, South Dakota where she attended Platte Elementary School through the fourth (4th) grade. She and her family then moved to Littleton, Colorado which is where she ultimately became a star athlete at Heritage High School; helping lead her team to a four-year mark of 82-8, including 24-0 and the state championship her junior year. She averaged 17.9 points and was second-team all-state as a senior. Melissa graduated from Heritage in 1997.

Her passion for competition and sports involved her in volleyball, softball, and the love of her life, basketball. Summers were spent traveling with the Colorado Hoopsters and competing in elite high school basketball tournaments throughout the United States. Her play garnered the attention of collegiate athletic programs, most notably, the University of Washington.

This led her to the city she loved and the school of her dreams, the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. Melissa earned a full athletic scholarship with the Huskies and competed in 92 games. Although her senior year was cut short due to an ACL injury, her team still went on to win the Pac-10 conference championship and reached the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight. After her collegiate basketball career ended, Melissa graduated later that Spring in 2001 with a Bachelor’s in Sociology.

Melissa continued to contribute to women’s basketball as she went on to work as an Assistant Coach at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana and then as a graduate assistant at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). However, her love of playing basketball brought her back to Seattle in 2003 where she trained to get back into shape and then traveled to Germany and Portugal to play professionally. It was during her time in Portugal that she felt changes in her ability to compete stating, “I started to feel very inadequate on the court. I was out of balance, slow and unable to jump as high as normal. I felt that I was just getting old and not training as I used to.” Shortly thereafter, Melissa returned home to Seattle and continued to play basketball recreationally but decided to pursue a different career, working with children. She worked for the State of Washington as a youth counselor as well as a parole officer at Echo Glen Children’s Center.

In 2006, the day before Melissa’s 28th birthday, and after numerous evaluations by doctors and specialists, she was diagnosed with the incurable disease, ALS.

Besides basketball and sports, Melissa had an undying love for family and friends. She also had many other hobbies and interests which included music, dancing, shopping, attending parties, traveling, and spending time with children. She was very much a free spirit and loved just having a good ol’ time. She had a passion for life and was loved (amongst countless other reasons) for her smile and her laughter.

Melissa is survived by her parents, Leanne and Joe Erickson, her sister Kristin, and her god-daughters Coco, India, and Jadyn.

The Erickson Family kindly requests, that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to The Melissa Erickson Foundation which is still in existence and are organizing this wonderful Celebration of Life for Melissa.

The Erickson Family also requests, that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALSTDI) in honor of Melissa “Jo” Erickson. All monetary contributions are tax-deductible, but more importantly, will help support the continued research to one day determine the cause and the cure for this unforgiving disease. Please visit

Thank you to all of you for the love and care you have given to our sweet daughter Melissa!


  • Celebration Of Life Friday, June 21, 2013

Melissa "Mo" Jo Erickson

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Kristi Evans

September 3, 2013

I don't know Melissa ("Mo"), but found out about her, her courage and her optimism and fight against this cruel disease, after my friend was diagnosed with ALS early '13.

I was saddened to see this obituary here. I'd done periodic searches to see what her 'team' was up to in the fight against ALS. I was a Seattelite for eight years, you see, but it was her vivacious personality and bravery that made me think of her periodically, especially as I've watched my friend, Gary, lose his voice, now his mobility.

We will continue the fight against this terrible disease. I extend my condolences to the family and friends of this obviously amazing woman. I'm so sorry for your loss.

cheryl parker

June 21, 2013

Mo - it's your trainer... i will never forget how you made me laugh, how you didn't like conditioning but loved the game... how much you smiled and loved everyone... i see you running up and down the court, blocking shots and sinking baskets - slapping high fives with me and your team mates.... i am wearing purple in your honor ya, trainer (cheryl parker)

Sher Jacobs

June 21, 2013

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Love Sher Jacobs

Courtney Swanson

June 15, 2013

Mo, I'll cherish all of the quiet moments we shared...and all of the crazy fun ones too. There are no words to fully explain how much you mean to me and nobody could ever fill the void now that you're gone. My best friend, my "ride or die", my Fizzle...I will always love you.

Shannon Dreessen

June 13, 2013

I will never forget Melissa's smile. It could light up a room. I will also never forget the passion and tenacity with which she played the game of basketball. I only got to play with her for 3 years, but she definitely made an impact on me. My thoughts and prayers are with your family during this difficult time.

Shannon (Strecker) Dreessen

Shannon Dreessen

June 13, 2013

I will never forget Melissa's smile! It could light up a room. Also her passion for being on the court and tenacity while playing. I only got to play with her for 3 years or so, but she definitely made an impact on me. My thoughts and prayers are with your family during this difficult time.

Shannon (Strecker) Dreessen

Jessica Swenson

June 12, 2013

Oh Mo. You are missed more than you know. You're generosity with your friendship, love, and laughter will always be with us.

June 12, 2013

Hadn't seen Melissa since her Vegas days, but who can forget that awesome smile! Great memories of all of us "surviving" Hoopsters. Our thoughts and prayers are with your entire family and hope you may find a bit of comfort knowing how much others care. God bless you all!
Russ & Cynthia Strecker

June 12, 2013

My deepest sympathies in the loss of your beautiful daughter. Jane Anderson

Stephanie Spinler

June 12, 2013

Melissa's smiling face will be missed around the poker table. She was a joy to play with and always had a good time. She will be missed. In the game of poker there are ups and down and Melissa always showed us how to do it with a smile. God Bless and thoughts are with her family at this difficult time.