On July 13, 2013, Erma Mae Reichelt, 86, left this world to be with her heavenly Father. She lost this life to pancreatic cancer. Her time of suffering was brief, and she passed with many family members and friends by her side.
Erma was born to Elsie and Walter Buchholz on Feb. 3, 1927, in Big Sandy, Mont. She was raised in Big Sandy with her three younger sisters. After high school graduation in 1945, Erma and her best friend Mardella Reichelt moved to the big city of Great Falls. Soon after, Erma was introduced to Mardella’s brother, Donald, who had just returned from the war. They were married Sept. 8, 1945, and returned to Big Sandy, where they spent their life together farming and raising seven children. Donald passed away in 2006.
Erma started her career as a nurse’s aide and earned her LPN degree in the 1970s. She worked at Sande’s Nursing Home for 26 years and was honored at a lovely appreciation celebration, but instead of retiring, she continued her nursing career, including home care, until she was 85 years old.
Erma was always compassionate, hard-working, soft spoken and kind. She loved flowers and took great pleasure in creating flower arrangements. Reading was also a lifelong passion. Not a book, magazine or newspaper could leave the house without first being read. Her hobbies included ceramics, listening to Christian music, traveling, collecting recipes, cooking, photo albums, sewing (also a necessity with seven children), crocheting, and hunting ... bargains (seven kids!). She was a charter member of the Big Sandy Coffee Club that met for over 30 years, resulting in many lifelong friendships.
Erma cherished her family and put their needs before her own. She was giving and caring and delighted in spending time with her family. She always had a smile to share and could often be heard whistling or humming as she went about her way. She was dearly loved and will be greatly missed by all her family and friends.
Erma was preceded in death by her husband, Donald Reichelt; and parents, Elsie and Walter Buchholz.
She is survived by her sisters, Beatrice (Bill) Shane of West Richland, Wash., Bernice Hemperly of West Richland, Wash,, and Anita (Glenn) Cook of Big Sandy, Mont.
She is also survived by her children, Russell (Elaine) and grandchildren Jennifer, Julie and Jeff, of Yuma, Ariz., Les (Lisa and grandchildren Ryan, Tyler, Kyle and Rebecca) of Bozeman, Mont.; Verlin (Patty) of Big Sandy, Mont.; Lenore Marx (Earl and grandchildren Marissa, Allyson and Brittany) of Big Sandy, Corinne Reichelt (Dave Williams and grandchildren Dawn and Kathleen) of Big Sandy, Mont., Curtis (Janice and grandchildren Kirk, Kevin, Kenneth and Kalvin) of Malta, Mont., and John (Shauna and grandchild Rachel) of Billings, Mont.; as well as and 16 great-grandchildren with one on the way.
A memorial service will be held on July 27, at 11 a.m. at the Big Sandy Church of God. Memorial contributions can be sent to the Big Sandy Church of God, Big Sandy Medical Center or the Senior Center.