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Erma's Story

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Service for Erma Irene Smith will be 10 a.m., Monday, Dec. 5, 2016 at MMS-Payne Funeral Home Chapel, she will be laid to rest in Woodlawn Cemetery beside her husband Bruce. Friends may visit at the funeral home on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016 from 1-6 p.m., with family receiving visitors from 2-4 p.m.
Erma passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016 at Wood Manor Nursing Home. She was 99.
Born on Christmas Day in 1916, in Kansas City, Kan. to Samuel Harrison Needles and Eva (Blanton) Needles, Erma moved to Oklahoma following her parents deaths to live with her grandparents. She went back to Kansas City every year for school and stayed with relatives. Erma finished her schooling at Miami, Oklahoma.
While visiting in Tulsa, she acquired a pen pal with the encouragement of her friend. She and her new pen pal, Bruce, continued writing for another year before they met.
He had leave from his service duties and on December 21, 1942 the couple were married.
They made their home in Kansas City and later Wichita. Following Bruce's discharge they moved to Tulsa and in 1945 Claremore became home.
Erma worked at Douglas for a time before starting a career in sales at Masons Dress Shoppe. In her 34 years there she worked under five different owners and made many friends. Erma retired in 1981 to take care of her husband due to his health challenges.
She was very close to her nieces and her church family. Erma taught Sunday School and enjoyed her time with the children.
She loved to knit and most family members have something she made for them. When younger she loved to dance. Erma had a great sense of humor and had fun being with her friends.
Those family members that survive include her nieces Darlene Ganus of Mounds and Jacqueline R. Hull of Claremore; her cousin Geraldine Otto and many great nieces and nephews and other extended family members.
Erma was preceded in death by her husband, James Bruce Smith, her parents, grandparents, sisters Evelyn Griffin and Verda Hixson.
In lieu of flowers, friends may make a donation in Erma's honor to the Hope Harbor Children's Home, P.O. Box 1047, Claremore, Oklahoma 74018.
View and sign Erma's online tribute at www.mmsfuneralhomes.com
Published on December 2, 2016
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