Ricky Lynn Erway

Ricky Lynn Erway

Ricky Lynn Erway, 62, an Oregon native and recent resident of Prescott, Arizona, died from injuries suffered in a fall in New Orleans on January 25, 2020.

Ricky was born on Christmas Eve, 1957, in Madison, the youngest of three daughters of Norm and Willie Erway. She grew up in Oregon, graduating in 1976 from Oregon Senior High School, where she had competed in track and ski racing. Ricky attended University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, majoring in English and Education. After a stint in Colorado as a ski bum and high school librarian, she returned to Wisconsin and earned a Masters of Library Science degree from UW-Madison in 1985.

Following grad school, she accepted a position with the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, where she remained for 10 years, eventually serving as Associate Coordinator of American Memory, an initiative aimed at significantly increasing public access to the special collections of the Library of Congress. During her time at LC, Ricky had the opportunity to present the concepts and results of the program to such luminaries as the Queen of England and then-Vice President Al Gore.

In 1995, Ricky moved to the Bay Area of California where she spent the rest of her career. She served as Digital Resources Manager at RLG, a consortium of research libraries working cooperatively to preserve and provide access to their culturally rich collections. When RLG merged with the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) in 2006, Ricky became a senior program officer in OCLC Research, where she continued her work until her retirement in 2015. She is regarded in library circles as a “digital pioneer” and she impacted librarians around the world with her ideas and writings.

While in California, Ricky met Ted Brooks, who became her husband in 2014. Following her retirement, Ricky and Ted sold all their stuff and took off on an RV journey across the US, ultimately visiting 37 states in their quest to find a new home. They ended up in Prescott, Arizona, where Ricky directed her creative energy towards volunteering at the Archives of the Sharlot Hall Museum. She also wrote and published articles about Prescott’s past in the Daily Courier’s “Days Past”. And she and Ted continued traveling, with a concentration on their new home state and the general Southwest.

Ricky had hundreds of friends and fans all over the country. With a sharp wit, a wry sense of humor and a laugh that lit up the room, a love for life, for games, for traveling and especially for her family and friends, Ricky was loved by all who knew her.

Ricky was preceded in death by her parents and her brother-in-law Baxter Burton. She is survived by her husband, Ted Brooks; stepdaughter Molly Brooks of Brooklyn, New York; sisters Kim Erway Birck (William) of Missoula, Montana and Tracy Erway Burton of Madison; niece Korrigan (Kate) Burton of Chicago, and her dog Abbey.

There will be no public celebration of life, but those who knew and loved her are encouraged to share some memories and raise a toast in her honor. Memorial donations may be sent to the Sharlot Hall Museum at 415 W. Gurley Street, Prescott, AZ, 86301, https://www.sharlothallmuseum.org or to the Oregon Public Library.