Erna Gilliam - Departed on May 02, 2008 - Village of Ashwaubenon, WI
Erna Gilliam - Departed on May 02, 2008 - Village of Ashwaubenon, WI

Erna Gilliam

Born in Lawrence, KS on Jul 25, 1920

Died on May 02, 2008 and resided in Village of Ashwaubenon, WI

Erna Carl Gilliam, 87, passed away peacefully on Friday, May 2, 2008 at Woodside Lutheran Nursing Home. Erna and her twin sister, Olga, were born on July 25, 1920 in Lawrence, Kansas to Owen and Elsa Barteldes Carl, who all preceded her in death. The family´s main residence was in Lawrence, Kansas, but summers were always spent in Fish Creek, Wisconsin. Erna received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Kansas in 1942. She was a gifted pianist and played flute in the University marching band. Erna and Olga were members of the Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority and of the Mu Phi Epsilon, a professional music sorority. During World War II, Erna and Olga worked at the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant in Desota, Kansas. Erna married Luther (Luke) Charles Gilliam on June 20, 1946. Luke and Erna lived first in Circleville and then Moline, Kansas, until Luke´s death in 1957. Erna returned to Lawrence and gave private piano lessons in her home and also worked in the physics department of the University of Kansas. She was very active in art and music circles, displaying her water color paintings at "Art in the Park," playing piano and flute with the Chamber Music Group, and attending all possible musical functions at the University. Erna also took care of her mother, Elsa, until her death in 1987. In her retirement years, Erna traveled with her longtime doctor and friend, Mary Boyden, to places such as Norway, Portugal, Costa Rica, and Alaska. Erna was able to remain safely in the family home in Lawrence for many years, thanks to friend, Margret Wilson, who nursed her faithfully through many injuries and illnesses. Erna also spent time in her beloved Fish Creek, often staying from May to October. Summers were full of family and friends, painting in the park, music festivals, family sails, exploring islands, deer watching, following golfers during tournament time, Fourth of July fireworks, beach barbeques and bonfires, and watching the kids play on the beach. Erna is survived by her son, Michael Luther Gilliam (Joan Birder) of Green Bay; her daughter Elsa Louise Major (Patrick) of San Diego, California; her stepson Church Gilliam (Lois) of Fairfield Bay, Arkansas; five grandchildren: Chris Gilliam of Seattle, Washington, Nick Gilliam of Gainesville, Florida, O´Reilly and Delaney Gilliam of Green Bay, and Stephanie Major of San Diego, California. She is also survived by her brother, Rudolf Carl (Pat Steeper) of Naperville, Illinois, and Upland, California, and her sister Rita Orr of Arvada, Colorado, and many nieces, nephews, and friends. A private memorial will be held in Lawrence, Kansas. A celebration of her life will take place this summer in Fish Creek. Proko-Wall Funeral Home is assisting the family. Online condolences may be sent to the Gilliam family at www.prokowall.com. The family would like to thank Margaret Wilson for the friendship and care she generously gave Erna for so many years. The family would also like to thank Dr. Dan Lemkuil, and the dedicated and loving staff of Woodside Manor and Nursing Home for their wonderful care of Erna during the past years. In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Erna´s memory to St. Norbert College Music Theatre.