Erling Nelson Rikansrud

January 5, 1930May 12, 2019

Erling Nelson Rikansrud, 89 – Passed away on Sunday, May 12th, 2019 in Winter Park, Florida. Erling was born in Sioux City, Iowa on January 5th, 1930 to Mrs. Grace Nelson Rikansrud and Dr. Arthur Roland Rikansrud. Erling was also known to most as “Rik” in his adult years.

Rik’s early interests included activities in the Boy Scouts of America, where he attained the highest rank of Eagle Scout. He also enjoyed the outdoors. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Arts from North Texas State University. He later developed a keen interest in aircraft and was commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force in 1953, serving proudly as a B-26 Invader bomber pilot in the Korean Conflict. He also flew various other aircraft in North Africa and other locations around the world. He capped off his military career flying KC-97 Midair refueling tankers out of MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, where he met his wife-to-be, Laura “Betty” Elizabeth Brown. After his military service, Rik flew commercial DC-3 airliners for Trans Texas Airways. At that point, he moved to Florida where he owned and operated Rikansrud Boat Works in Madeira Beach. After running the boat yard for many years, he also held a sales representative position at Tampa Marine Supply and worked as a General Building Contractor. Finally, he returned to aviation as a commercial pilot, ferrying antenna and tower maintenance crews around the state in twin-engine aircraft. Erling is survived by four children (Eric, Edward, Ronald, and Evan), three grandchildren (Ryan, Kristen, and Anthony), as well as four great-grandchildren (Kylie, Kynzie, Cole, and Zoe). He was preceded in death by son Lawrence. After Laura, Rik was also married to Helen Laws Sowder. He was preceded in death by both Laura and Helen.

Funeral services will be held on Thursday, May 16th, 2019 at Sylvan Abbey Funeral Home and Memorial Park, 2853 Sunset Point Road, Clearwater, FL 33759. There will be a Visitation from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Sylvan Abbey Funeral Home followed by a short procession and Committal Service from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. across the street.


  • Visitation Thursday, May 16, 2019
  • Committal Service Thursday, May 16, 2019


Erling Nelson Rikansrud

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