Dennis Erickson died on Dec. 3, 2015, at the age of 69. The humble man spent 15 years as an usher at Celebration Church in Lakeville, Minnesota. Because Erickson had no children, he left his estate to the church. In addition to the house, the church came into possession of seven working vehicles and a treasure trove of collectibles that could be worth a fortune.
A Vast Collection
In just about every room in Erickson’s house sit hundreds and hundreds of scale-model cars from floor to ceiling. Cars sit on shelves, in display cabinets, along hallways, on bathroom walls and even on a guest bed laid out in a quilt pattern. Lisa Lundstrom, the executor of Erickson’s estate, estimates Erickson collected 30,000 model cars, and Celebration Church needs to work out what to do with them. Erickson polished and tended to them regularly, so the models are in great shape.
Real Cars Too
Erickson started his collection at age 9, amassing more than one car for every day of his life. In his two-car garage sat a life-size Model T Ford, a 1959 Edsel and a 1966 Rambler. Erickson’s friend and fellow car enthusiast, Glenn Lindell, bought Erickson’s working Pontiac Bonneville, and the two friends traveled across the United States in that car. A 16-year-old with a shiny new Minnesota driver’s license purchased Erickson’s Chrysler Sebring and named the car Dennis.
Plenty of Paperwork
Meticulous records and paperwork found in the basement document Erickson’s collection within a filing cabinet. Among the papers, Lundstrom found a handwritten note from the avid collector that says, “Some might think it’s sad that I never had children or a family but I have my church family and the mission to help others and reach people for Jesus.”
Because of the usher’s dedication to his church, the group wants to honor Erickson by keeping the entire collection as intact as possible. Fittingly, Celebration Church plans to use the proceeds from the sale to expand its children and youth ministries. Erickson’s collection of toy cars is unique among automobile enthusiasts. Get a closer look in the following clip.