The matriarch of our family Erma Ruth Miller, 96, of Sunnyside passed into glory, in the late afternoon of Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2008. She gracefully entered the loving arms of Jesus, receiving heavenly peace, and now her eternal life has begun.
Erma was born on June 21, 1911, on the hottest day of the year in Hudson, Kan. to Rholie and Laura Shafer. She and her six siblings were raised by her widowed mother on a farm in Spencer, Okla. When Erma was in the third grade, she realized she wanted to become a teacher and she never turned from that desire. She graduated from Central High School in Oklahoma City in 1929.
She was involved in basketball and track and field. She excelled in English classes and home economics courses. After two years of college, Erma received a public school teacher's certificate from the state of Oklahoma.
In 1931, while Erma was a young teacher, a friend introduced her to a man Erma found to be tall and handsome. She said he made her feel important and was always good to her. It didn't take long for Erma and Robert to fall in love. It was then that legacy of Mr. and Mrs. R.W. Miller began.
At the beginning of the Great Depression, she married Bob on May 30, 1932. They celebrated 54 years together. Their three daughters were born in Oklahoma. Erma spent every day of the rest of her life devoting lavish amounts of love, care and instruction on her daughters. Erma strived to be an excellent mother and constant teacher and guide. She created many wonderful traditions for them. She could not have loved them more.
Just after Pearl Harbor Day, Bob and Erma ventured far out west to the Pacific Northwest, settling on Hood Canal. Erma and Bob soon became accustomed to the environment of the beautiful Puget Sound. Erma often spoke about the majestic mountains, the beautiful water and the lush green landscape. Erma became known for her many oyster fry dinners. She never complained about the rain of the Northwest. She always said it was far better that the dust storms she endured in Oklahoma.
With the encouragement of her husband, Erma decided to complete her teaching degree. She continued to teach at Belfair School District during the school year and attended Pacific Lutheran University during the summer months, in 1950. Erma reached her goal, earning a Bachelor's Degree in education.
In 1952, the Miller family moved to Bremerton into Erma's dream house. She dearly loved her home that overlooked the Puget Sound. From the sitting porch, one could view the Olympic Mountains, Mount Rainier and the water of Puget Sound. She would often sit on her front porch reading, hand stitching, or just sitting watching the ferries as they continued on their course.
Erma taught school for the Bremerton School District, many years at Manette Elementary, just two blocks from her home. Her love for and her skill in teaching was not limited to public schools. She was also an adult Sunday school teacher at the Bremerton Church of the Nazarene for more than 50 years. A major change in the family's life came shortly after their move to Washington. A co-worker of Bob's kept asking him to bring his family to visit his church. The family finally did. It was there that the decision was made for God to become the Lord of their lives and home. That decision resulted in a direction and purpose that has stabilized and influenced the family all the following years.
Erma and Bob often hosted dinner parties, and almost always had a crowd for dinner after church. She enjoyed the company of friends and family and always had dinner in the oven and a candy dish full of treats for anyone who just happened to stop by.
Bob and Erma truly loved people. They cared for the underdog and the disheartened in life. Erma was exceptionally generous and would give unquestionably to someone in need. Many who knew Erma knew of her stubborn side, but most importantly they knew of her heart of gold. She was always the perfect demonstration of etiquette, gracefulness and perfection.
Erma was involved in many activities outside the home, FTA, WEA, NEA, Beta XI Chapter, Kitsap County Retired Teacher's Association and Delta Kappa Gamma. In 1976, Erma retired from her career in education. Over the years, Erma received letters and visits from former students, thanking her for the lifelong skills they had learned in her classroom. One teacher evaluation reflects many of her attributes, "Mrs. Miller is not only teaching knowledge and skills in the classroom but also good traits to live by. She combined an excellent approach to academic teaching with fine moral instruction for her students. Her students have high respect for her and are thankful for the learning skills she taught them. I considered her one of the best teachers in the district."
With Erma's passing, it has brought an end to her generation within her family.
She is survived by her three daughters and their husbands, Laura and John Jacobs of Sunnyside and their four children, Cindy, Robert, Nancy and Melinda; great-grandchildren, Amanda, Corey, Harry, Jennifer, Sarah, Jacob, Ashley and Andrew; great-great-grandchildren, Calla, Zaiden, David, Anthony, Brenton, Michael and Brandon; daughter, Sue and Richard Dymess of Sparks, Nev., and their two children, Rory and Brad; great-grandchildren, Jeff, Jenny, Stephanie, Danny and Greg; and great-great-grandchildren, Hayley and Kylie; daughter, Roberta and Orv Halley of Oklahoma City, Okla., and their three children, Steve, Mark and Elizabeth; great-grandchildren, Rebecca, Annie, Raquel and Josiah; an 'adopted by the heart' son and his wife, Owen and Marge Moritz; and several nieces and nephews.
Memorial services will be held Saturday, Jan. 12, 2008, at 4 p.m. at the Bremerton Church of the Nazarene, 924 Sheridan Road, Bremerton. Memorial donations are suggested be made to Hospice and the Bremerton Church of the Nazarene. Interment will be held at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Bremerton.
Smith Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.Hoh