Erma Mae Hershey, 89, preacher’s wife, prayer warrior, mother of seven, Shady Maple retiree

By on May 4, 2016

Erma Mae Hershey, 89, formerly of Manheim, and born in White Oak, died May 2, 2016, at the Mount Hope Nazarene Retirement Community, Manheim.

She was the wife of the late Rev. Kenneth H. Hershey, who preceded her in death in 1985. Erma was the daughter of the late Roy H. and Sarah Miller Nye.

Erma was married on Christmas Day 1943 on the Hershey home farm by her father-in-law, the late Rev. Milton L. Hershey. She and Ken started farming near Penryn on a farm owned by his parents. Ken was called into the ministry in the White Oak Church of the Brethren in the spring of 1955. By December of that year, Ken and Erma left the farm and took their growing family to the foothills of the Poconos near Lehighton.

For 11 years they pastored a small mission church in the valley of Long Run. In 1966 they accepted the call to a church in Conemaugh, a borough outside Johnstown. For almost 17 years they labored together in the ministry in and around the flood city. In 1983 Ken and Erma accepted another call to move to the Yellow Creek/Bethel churches, a yoked parish outside of Everett.

Less than two years later, Erma became a widow at the age 58, with the sudden passing of her husband. She would say she had been a young bride, a young mother, a young grandmother, and a young widow.

Upon the death of her precious husband, Erma moved back to Lancaster County where she lived with her children. At first, she joined her home church, the White Oak Church of the Brethren. But eventually she became a member at the Blue Ball COB. Erma was a prayer warrior. She would spend much time daily, rising early to pray for her family and the many requests she received. She loved the Lord Jesus Christ and His church.

In the fall of 1985, she was hired by Shady Maple Farm Market and worked in the soup and salad department. She became affectionately known as “Grandma” to the many customers and employees alike. Grandma passionately loved her work, her co-workers and her many customer friends. In the end, Erma was awarded for her 25 years of service to the company, reluctantly retiring at age 84. Mother was never quite the same after retiring. She missed her many friends from the store.

Erma is survived by her seven children: Joyce, wife of Samuel Utsick, of Enola; Marian, wife of Ronald Vogel, of Manheim; Joel, husband of Jane Mummert Hershey, of Gap; Marilyn Garland of Mountville; David, husband of Debra Ream Hershey, of Greencastle; James, husband of Susan King Hershey, of Manheim; Jay Milton Hershey of Lititz; 20 grandchildren; 48 great-grandchildren; and four great-great-grandchildren.

Preceding her in death is a son-in-law: Dennis Garland; and her younger sister: Sarah Jane Kreider.

Everyone is welcome to attend Erma’s life celebration service at the Blue Ball Church of the Brethren on Route 23, Main Street, Blue Ball, on Thursday, May 5, at 3 p.m. There will be a viewing at the Buch-Heisey Funeral Home, 216 S. Broad St., Lititz, on Wednesday, from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m. There will be a time of visitation with the family at the church on Thursday afternoon from 2 p.m. until the time of the service. Interment will be private in Graybill’s Brethren Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Erma’s Memory may be sent to Africa Inland Mission P.O. Box 3611, Peachtree City, GA 30269-7611, postmarked for Erma Hershey. Checks may be made out to AIM.

To send the family online condolences, visit Buch-Heisey Funeral Home, Lititz, handled the arrangements.

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