Alyce Erickson, with her poodle Miss Puccini,
lives in a home at Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club,
from which she can organize fundraisers for such organizations
as Lynn University and the National Society of Arts,
among others. Photo by Tim Stepien
You know how some people simply sparkle? They light up a room just by walking in?
Alyce Erickson is one of those. And, if you’re one of the fortunate folks to visit her home in Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club, you can’t help but feel the love. A Puccini aria fills the house and the sweetest little tan poodle scampers to greet you. Her name? Miss Puccini.
It’s no secret a music lover lives here.
Erickson says she doesn’t play an instrument herself.
“I play at the piano,” she says. “My gift is listening.”
She does much more than listen, though. She works arduously to open doors for young musicians by organizing concerts and competitions at the Lynn Conservatory of Music. “These kids are so talented,” she says. “Each one is a walking genius.”
The mother of two sons, a daughter-in-law she considers her daughter, and one “adorable” grandson, Erickson has immersed herself in Boca Raton since she arrived in 1984. Her finely honed organizational skills have served her well.
“I got involved with the Boca Raton Museum of Art right away,” she says. “I was bored stiff boating, playing tennis and shopping. I needed a project.”
She walked in to the Museum of Art, then located on Palmetto Park Road, and offered to organize a fundraising ball at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. “They said ‘you’ll never get it there,’ but I knew I would, and I did.” In fact, she reserved the luxurious hotel for the next year’s ball at the same time.
Although she didn’t know anyone in town then, she persuaded the art museum to let her pick her own committee made up of presidents of every organization in town.
It was called “The Presidents Ball” and it was a huge success.
“Of course, there was payback,” she says. Over the years, she’s volunteered to help all those organizations.
Her other involvements include Lynn University, National Society of Arts and Letters, Boca Raton Children’s Museum, American Red Cross, Florida Symphonic Pops and Florida Atlantic University.
Two years ago, she was awarded the Junior League of Boca Raton Woman Volunteer of the Year Award, and this year she received a star on the Boca Raton Historical Society’s Walk of Recognition.
The Walk of Recognition (at Royal Palm Place) honors people who have demonstrated a significant long-term commitment to serving in the interest of Boca Raton and have enriched the lives of citizens.
That’s Alyce Erickson all right.
— Mary Thurwachter
Q. Where did you grow up and what’s your educational background?
A. I was born in North Carolina, went to school in West Virginia, moved to Florida in 1982. I have a medical degree in nursing. My husband and I retired to Florida after we sold our cable TV business.
Q. What are your hobbies?
A. Miss Puccini, Lynn University Conservatory of Music, National Society of Arts and Letters, volunteerism, music art, photography and bridge.
Q. How did you choose to make your home in Boca Raton?
A. We had friends here and had been coming down on vacations.
Q. What is your favorite part about living in Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club/Boca Raton? A. Friends and family and the young talent, the culture — opera in [West] Palm Beach, music at the Conservatory of Music, theater and ballet.
Q. Why is volunteer work so important to you?
A. I believe we are here to serve. I think God puts us where we’re supposed to be to get things done. My gift is organization.
Q. If someone made a movie of your life, who would you like to play you and why?
A. Meryl Streep. She played the violin in Music of the Heart. I don’t play violin, but I love music.
Q. What music do you listen to when you need inspiration? When you want to relax?
A. The Four Seasons by Vivaldi, Pachelbel’s Canon in D, the Christmas classics like O Holy Night and Ave Maria; harp music, opera and so much more.
Q. What ‘s your favorite childhood memory?
A. Getting together with the family around the table on Christmas morning. I love Christmas. It’s my favorite season.
Q. Do you have a favorite quote that inspires your decisions?
A. Yes, two: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. (the Golden Rule); and “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul,” from Invictus, by William Ernest Henley.
Q. Have you had mentors in your life? Individuals who have inspired your life decisions?
A. Ruth McGoldrick, the lady who ran the Debbie-Rand Thrift Shop for all these years, and her sister, Sally Crow, who was in every organization in this town.