Dennis Erickson was a diligent usher at Celebration Church in Lakeville, Minnesota, who ensured that everything ran properly and “never missed a beat” while greeting churchgoers.
Erickson’s fellow parishioners only learned about his meticulous collection of rare toy vehicles at his Eagan, Minnesota, home after he died in December at 69.
According to Lisa Lundstrom, the executor of Erickson’s estate, the collection consists of about 30,000 cars that line the walls of every square inch of his house and includes seven impeccably cared-for operational automobiles.
“I would assume it’s a four-bedroom house,” Lundstrom told ABC News, “but I haven’t figured that out because of the autos.” Cars cover the entire floor in the kitchen, halls, and bathrooms.”
Lundstrom, the daughter of Celebration Church’s founding pastor, is the organization’s chief financial officer. She alleges that Erickson, an only kid whose parents are both deceased, became friends with her family since the church acted as his family.
“I knew automobiles were his hobby, but he was very private about his house, and now I understand why,” said Lundstrom, who visited Erickson’s residence for the first time following his death. He would rather keep his collection to himself.
Lundstrom is now in charge of the church’s efforts to honor Erickson’s life and memory by selling his automotive collection to someone or some organization that will value it as much as he did.
“He had cans and cans of cleansers and dust cloths by a huge chair,” Lundstrom observed. “I imagine he had a rotating routine of cleaning everything and placing everything back in its optimum spot.”
Erickson, according to Lundstrom, also had a brochure displaying his toy car collection and built-in bookcases for the toys in his home. Erickson, a civil engineer who began collecting automobiles as a child, also saved the original packaging for each vehicle, according to Lundstrom.
She estimates that Erickson’s estate, which includes his home, antique cars, and vintage cars, will be worth well into the six figures. The cash will expand the church’s children’s and youth ministries.
“I just got a sheet of paper from his Army Corps retirement,” Lundstrom explained. I’ve got a lot of his papers to go over.” “Some may think it unfortunate that I never had children or a family, but I have my church family and the aim of helping others and winning them to Jesus,” he continued.
“We want to commemorate Dennis’s life and service,” Lundstrom said of the money from his estate.