Erma Zoe Neilsen of Hermiston, Oregon, was born on November 19, 1936 in Knoxville, Tennessee to parents, Roy and Lela Kidd Reed. She died on August 1, 2019 in Hermiston, Oregon at the age of 82 years. At the age of 7, Erma’s family moved to Mohawk, Oregon due to her asthma. She attended school in Mohawk, Oregon until high school, graduating from Poly High School in Riverside, California majoring in Home Economics. In her early years, Erma worked at Beaumont Electric Company and was a caregiver in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa before moving to Hermiston, Oregon in 1979. She worked for Inland Empire/Banner Bank in Hermiston for nearly 30 years before retiring. Erma operated Erma’s Cake Place for many years as well as teaching cake decorating classes at community colleges while living in Bend and Hermiston. Erma served as a Cub Scout and Blue Birds troop leader when her children were young. She was active in Eastern Star and many square dance clubs through the years. Erma was responsible for preparing the cakes to commemorate Hermiston 75th and 100th birthday. She was a member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church where she had served as treasure. Erma had many hobbies which included making hand sew quilts, sewing, knitting, crocheting, canning, cooking and baking. She entered many of her creations, both fabric and culinary, in the Umatilla County Fair over the years. She won many ribbons as well as being awarded the 2007 Homemaker of the Year when she entered 101 items celebrating Hermiston’s 100th birthday. Erma was an active longtime member of the Good Shepherd Hospital Auxiliary and made countless items for newborn babies for multiple hospitals in Oregon and California.
She is survived by her son: Donald Bruce Blakeley & husband Tony Cantwell; daughters: Becky Miltenberger & husband Don, Ramona Culp & husband Kenny; 12 grandchildren; 5 great granddaughters; 1 great grandson; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Erma was preceded in death by her husbands: Harold "Gene" Blakeley in 1974 and Edgar “Ed” Neilsen in 2017, son: Ted Blakeley, her parents, 4 brothers and a sister.
A funeral service will be held on Friday, August 9, 2019 at 1:30 P.M. at Burns Mortuary Chapel, Hermiston, Oregon. Burial will follow at the Hermiston Cemetery, Hermiston, Oregon.
Contributions in Erma’s memory may be made to the American Lung Association.
Please share memories of Erma with her family at burnsmortuaryhermiston.com
Burns Mortuary of Hermiston, Oregon is in care of arrangements.
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