Erma Bell Forry, E-town H.S. teacher, active at Lititz COB, enjoyed visiting historical sites

By on October 11, 2017

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our mother, Erma Bell Forry, who was also a wife, sister, teacher and friend.

She was born on July 18, 1922, to Michael and Mattie (Martha) Bell.

She attended country school in Hummelstown and graduated early from Hummelstown High School, then went on to Elizabethtown College. She played basketball there and was later inducted into their Sports Hall of Fame. After graduating from college, she obtained her master’s degree in education at Temple University. She was the first person in her family to obtain advanced educational degrees.

Erma had a 10-year career as a teacher of typing and business practices at Elizabethtown High School, where she was also a class advisor. She was beloved by her students, many of whom she kept in contact with, attending their class reunions as recently as last year.

Erma married Jonathan D. Forry in 1953, and they enjoyed a 62-year marriage. Typical of the time, Jonathan ran his business at Keller Bros. Auto Company in Lititz, and Erma ran the household and raised their three daughters.

She was an active member of the Lititz Church of the Brethren, where she was a member of the Christian education committee, editor of the church newspaper, and a Sunday school teacher. For many years she served as the treasurer for Delta Kappa Gamma, a professional society for women educators.

Erma was strong in constitution and spirit, and had a practical, common sense approach to life. Nicknamed “Red” for her flaming red hair, she had the ability to light the room with her unabashed sense of humor and fun-loving nature. Her daughters remember sledding with her in the winter and swimming with her in the ocean in the summer.

Erma loved taking family vacations to historical places, always looking for a “teaching moment.” She enjoyed cooking traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dishes, as well as canning and baking. It was not unusual for her to bake a dozen different kinds of cookies at Christmastime. She loved spending time with family, particularly with her three grandchildren, whom she adored.

Erma was preceded in death by her husband: Jonathan, who died in 2016.

She is survived by her daughters: Julia Hyser of Lancaster; Suzanne Forry of Rockville, Md.; and Donna Forry (husband David Peters) of Ventura, Calif.; and grandchildren: Meredith Schaudies Shimp (husband Jesse), Jonathan Schaudies, and Mattie Peters; as well as a stepdaughter: Kathleen Moyer.

Special thanks to the loving caregivers who cared for both our parents in their last years.

There will be a private family burial at Memory Gardens, Ephrata. A public memorial service will be held at the Lititz Church of the Brethren, 300 W. Orange St., Lititz, on Oct. 14, at 2 p.m.; visitation starts at 1 p.m.

To leave the family an online condolence, visit Charles F. Snyder Jr. Funeral Home & Crematory, Lititz, handled the arrangements.

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