It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Erma Thomson Lange. She was 102 years old and lived a life full of kindness, generosity, and love. She lived longer than a century! Can you imagine the things she experienced in her lifetime?
As a child, she rode on horseback through the countryside to her schoolhouse with her brother, Earl Thomson. In the winter, they would ride their sleds down a big snowy hill to school, arriving to class with red faces and chilled cheeks. Even though the children had to pull their sleds uphill at the end of the day, it was worth it to feel the joy of that crisp winter wind in the mornings.
As an adult, she met our father, Emmert Ralph Lange, and loved to go to dances with him. After their marriage, she accompanied him to South Carolina while he waited to be deployed during WWII. After Dad was deployed, she came back to Atlantic and lived with her mother, Edna Hornback Thomson, and her sisters, Opal Thomson Gress Shahan, and Doris Thomson Kirkland.
When Dad returned from the war, he used his skills as a carpenter to build our family home on 14th street. It sheltered many happy memories, and within its walls Erma and Emmert had 3 children; Leslee, Sharman, and Kathlyn (Kathy).
Erma was a very involved mother, and volunteered in our classrooms and our Girl Scout and Brownie troops. We used to tease her constantly about being so tiny, and she would promptly declare, “I’m five feet tall.” We would all laugh and say, “In your dreams, Mom!”
She was very interested in the world, and she read the Atlantic News Telegraph, the Omaha World Herald, and watched the evening news every night. She voted as soon as her age allowed, and even voted this year, 2022. She continued to stay interested in the world even as it changed around her, and she enrolled in computer classes in her 90’s so that she would be able to use her new computer to communicate with friends and family.
Our mother was very active in the Atlantic Methodist Church. She taught Sunday School for many years and enjoyed her friendships in her Circle groups. Merry Marrieds was a favorite, and to this day we continue to enjoy lifelong friendships with its members. We remember many fun family vacations to the Methodist Church Camp where Dad volunteered his carpenter skills on the building and repair of cabins. Mom loved serving her community and volunteered many times over the years for The Atlantic Food Pantry, Meals on Wheels, the Cass County Elections Board, and the Heritage House Board.
Mom lived a life full of love, kindness, patience, and service. This in turn influenced our lives, and we owe Mom and Dad our gratitude and respect, as we have raised our own children in the same loving atmosphere in which we were raised. We wish our mother Godspeed as she is reunited with our father, Emmert, and our sister, Kathy.
To everyone at the Heritage House, thank you for your friendship and the wonderful care you provided, you will always be special to us. We wish to especially thank the following for their endless love, timely visits, warm phone calls, and compassion for Mom: Darcy and Jon Schwanke, Elaine Martens, Pat Gress and the late Bob Gress, their three sons; Kurt, Kirby, and Kolby, Carol Gress Carlisle and family, and Jerry Webster and his family. We also thank our numerous relatives and other special friends who provided love and support over the years.
Rest in Peace, Mom. All our love to you, Dad, and Kathy. Erma is survived by two daughters, Leslee and Sharman, and their families.
Leslee Lange Castillo’s (and her late husband Ruben) family includes: daughter Courtnay Castillo Bragg and her sons Richie and Zachary; son Matthew Castillo, his wife Rachel, and their three daughters Chloe, Ainsley, and Sophia; and sons Ryan Castillo and Bradley Castillo.
Sharman Lange Vermeer’s, along with her husband Tom, family includes: son Lucas Vermeer and his wife Mary Beth with children Cole and Grace; and daughter Kate Vermeer Wilson, her husband Charley, and their children Dutch and Lorelei.
Remembrances can be sent to the Atlantic Food Pantry, the Atlantic Methodist Church, and the Heritage House. Leslee Castillo’s address is 4239 N. Montego Lane, Clovis, California, 93619. Sharman Vermeer’s address is 43 Virginia Avenue, Asheville, North Carolina, 28806.
No services are planned at this time. Per Erma's wishes, she selected to donate her body to Des Moines University.
Interment will take place at a later date at Brighton Township Cemetery near Marne, IA.
Schmidt Family Funeral Home is handling the arrangements for Erma Lange.