Erma Gabriel, 92, of Creighton, SD, died March 15, 2009, at the Hans P. Peterson Memorial Hospital in Philip, SD.
Erma Rose Coleman was born November 24, 1916, in Harrison County near Moorehead, Iowa, the daughter of Orrin and Goldie (Thomas) Coleman. Erma’s family lived on a small farm in the Woodbine, Iowa area until they moved to the Cottonwood, South Dakota area in 1931. The family homesteaded north of Grindstone, South Dakota raising sheep and hogs. Erma attended the Lincoln School, north of Grindstone, through the 8th grade. She helped her dad on the family farm-ranch and loved being outside with the animals. She always said she wasn’t much of a “house person” in her younger years. Erma took a job in Philip working for the WPA as a seamstress. With the earnings from WPA, she purchased property in the Dowling area, in northwest Haakon County.
On May 17, 1941, Erma married Raymond “Earl” Gabriel in Philip. For a while they resided with Floyd and Tressa Gabriel (Erma’s sister and Earl’s brother) in the south portion of their house. It was here they began their ranching life, raising sheep. Around 1943, they moved to northwest Haakon County, to what was known as the Moses Place. There they raised sheep and broke horses to make a living. Erma loved training her sheep dogs, and Earl always said he didn’t need a fast horse because Erma could run nearly as fast as a horse. Later they included cattle on their ranching operation, and eventually sold the sheep. In August 1961, Erma and Earl adopted their daughter, Cindy Rae. Erma brought her home from Minnesota when she was 3 days old, and she was the light of their lives. In 1963, they moved to northeastern Pennington County, along Deep Creek, near the old town of Pedro. They continued to ranch, raise cattle and live there until they moved to Philip in 2004, due to health reasons. They moved to the Kadoka Nursing Home in October of 2006, where she resided with Earl until her passing.
Erma and Earl loved square dancing in their early married years, and they always enjoyed a game of cards with friends or an evening of just visiting. Everyone who came to Erma’s house got the same welcome “Come in if you can get in.” She loved cooking for branding and everyone loved coming for her homemade pies. Erma enjoyed her salt and pepper shaker collection. All of her friends who traveled always brought her home another set. They covered one wall in her dining room with sets from all 50 states and many foreign countries. Erma loved kids and spent many summer weekends with Cindy at horse shows, cattle shows, and rodeos. She also enjoyed having the children of their military friends come and spend summers so they could learn the real meaning of work (as she always put it) and to learn the country way of life. Erma loved her family, ranch life, especially working with horses and dogs.
Grateful for having shared her life include her husband of 67 years, Earl Gabriel of Kadoka, her daughter Cindy Gabriel Nuzum of Philip; two grandchildren Colt and Casey Nuzum, both of Sundance, Wyoming; her sister Tressa Gabriel of Philip; her double nieces and nephew Beverly Hamann and her husband Herb of Clear Lake, South Dakota, Larry Gabriel and his wife Charlotte of Quinn, and Ruby Gabriel of Pierre; her special sisters-in-law Irna (Gabriel) Collins of rural Faith, and Ilma Gabriel (Frank) also of rural Faith; and a host of nieces and nephews whom she deeply cherished. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends who loved her dearly.
Erma was preceded in death by her parents.
Funeral services were held Thursday, March 19, at the Community Center in Wall, with Rev. Chris Crago officiating.
Interment was at the Wall Cemetery.
A memorial is established.
Rush Funeral Home is in charge of arrangmenets. Friends and family may leave condolences at http://www.rushfuneralhome.com.