Erma Dee Nolan Davis Trogdon © Stillwell Democrat Journal
March 8, 2017
Submitted by: Jan Grooms
Erma Dee Nolan Davidson Trogdon, departed this life to be with her Lord and Savior on February 19, 2017 at North Shore Health and Rehab Facility in Loveland, Colorado following a short illness. She was 93 years, 5 months and 11 days of age. The daughter of Robert Emmett Nolan and Parlee Elizabeth (Nichols) Nolan, Erma was born September 8, 1923 on the family farm in the Wauhillau community near Stilwell, Oklahoma. She was the10th of 11 children. On the very day the youngest child (number11) was born their father was gravely injured in an accident and succumbed to his injuries three days later. Erma had just turned two years of age. Raising 11 children alone was a big undertaking for their mother but, with help from the older children, the family of hard workers thrived. They raised their own vegetables, they had a milk cow and they raised a few hogs—-some to butcher and hang in the smokehouse, while others might be sold to gain cash to buy such needs as shoes for the children. Erma attended the one room Wauhillau School through eighth grade and then Stilwell High School, graduating in 1942.
Following graduation Erma moved to Tulsa, living with the family of an older sister and working as a telephone operator for Southwestern Bell. One of her best friends there was Virginia Fowler from Claremore, sister of Clara Ann Fowler, later known as Patti Page. Clara Ann was only 13 or 14 years old then but the older girls loved when she would come to Virginia's apartment, sit on a footstool and sing to them with that magical voice of hers. On December 2, 1944 Erma married her high school sweetheart, William Jerry (Bill) Davidson in Tulsa while he was on leave from the U.S. Navy. After his discharge from the Navy in 1945 they moved back to Stilwell where Bill farmed and they started their family. Daughter Glenna Cheryl was born in 1946 followed by Brenda Jerrine in 1948.
In 1952 the family moved to Tulsa where once again Erma joined Southwestern Bell as a long distance telephone operator and Bill began his 30 year career with the Otasco Corporation. After eight years in Tulsa, Bill's job transfer took them to Springfield, Missouri. The three-year stint in Springfield led Bill to purchase an Otasco associate store in Seneca, MO in 1963. There Erma worked side by side with Bill as they grew their successful retail business and she enjoyed the fellowship at Seneca First Baptist Church. They sold the store in 1973 and moved to a small farm in rural Everton, Missouri. Bill continued his association with Otasco as a district supervisor and Erma indulged in her love of gardening. She tended a huge vegetable garden that yielded bushels of produce that she happily preserved and canned to fill their freezer and stock the shelves of their big pantry, with plenty left over to share with friends. In Everton Erma was an active member of Liberty Baptist Church and she and Bill enjoyed the monthly gatherings of the Hampton Club, a neighborhood social group. Erma and Bill loved to fish and they traveled around to many favorite fishing spots and state parks in their fifth wheel trailer.
Bill died unexpectedly on December 18, 1984. Erma remained on the Everton farm until her marriage to retired dairy farmer Jack Trogdon on November 4, 1989 when she relocated to his home in rural Ash Grove, Missouri. Jack died in September 1994 and Erma decided moving to town was the sensible thing to do, so she established a home in a lovely neighborhood in Springfield, Missouri. She quickly joined Macedonia Baptist Church where she found lasting friendships with a group of ladies who got together for rousing games of chicken foot dominoes and who traveled far afield on church sponsored bus trips to various states and attractions. Erma was also a member of the Sew and Sews quilt group, making quilts for an annual auction that raised funds for the Missouri Baptist Children's Home and for several years she and her good friend Edna Deaton had season's tickets to Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State) men's basketball games.
Erma was a fabulous cook and a master of baking melt-in-your mouth pies and cobblers. She spoiled her daughters and sons-in-law by always serving their favorite meals and fulfilling any special requests....and there were plenty of those. It didn't matter what she cooked, it was all superb.
In 2004 Erma moved to The Wexford, an independent living community for seniors in Loveland, Colorado mere blocks from the home of her daughter Glenna's family and where she became a member of Orchards Baptist Church. She no longer had the space for a garden so she turned her attention to raising African Violets and they thrived under her care. She enjoyed the many activities and outings provided by the Wexford, including the monthly luncheon with the Red Hatters group. She especially looked forward to the evening meal in the dining room where she dined with a group of her friends and debated a number of issues, political and otherwise. It was a warm, witty and intelligent group that was special to Erma. She also loved the beautiful view of Lake Loveland from the balcony of her apartment and she was a die-hard fan of the Denver Nuggets Basketball Team, rarely missing a televised game.
Erma lived independently in her comfy apartment until one month before her death when immobility from a painful spinal compression led to a bout of pneumonia that led to a three-week stay in rehab, at the end of which she suffered a small stroke. Death came just one week later. She was mentally sharp to the very end and death came gently with her daughter at her bedside while they listened to recordings of Elvis Presley singing her favorite gospel hymns. Fittingly, Erma passed as I'll Fly Away was being sung.
Erma was preceded in death by her two husbands, Bill Davidson and Jack Trogdon; a daughter, Dr. Brenda Davidson Gavin, and nine siblings: Regenia Nolan Fink, Fate Nolan, Linzy “Cooney” Nolan, Edith Nolan Padgett, Birdie Hair Goss, RebaHair Diss, Robert Nolan, Jake Nolan and Gene Nolan.
Surviving are a daughter, Glenna Davidson Murdock and husband Jim of Loveland CO; a son-in-law, Dr. Laurence Gavin of Philadelphia, PA; former son-in-law, Dr. Gregory Politi and wife Marcia, St. George, Utah; one grandson, Zachary William Gavin and fiancee, Kallen Trachtsel, Philadelphia; one granddaughter, Megan Murdock Krischke and husband William, Durango CO; two great-grandchildren Flannery Rose Krischke and Soren Matthew Krischke of Durango and one brother, Emmett “Rosy” Nolan of Camarillo CA.
A funeral service for Erma was held at 2 p.m. on Friday, February 24, 2017 at Hart's Funeral Home in Stilwell, OK. Burial beside her first husband, Bill Davidson, was at Caney Cemetery in the Wauhillau community, northwest of Stilwell.
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