Erma Jean Thompson Ayers Allen 85, of Beckley, formerly of Glade Springs, Coal City and Epperly Hill was called to Heaven to be with her Lord on Wednesday, January 14 2015. She was carried away by her angels.
Born at Stephenson, WV (Devil’s Fork) in Wyoming County August 3, 1929, she was the oldest daughter of the late Wesley and Oka Meador Thompson. She was preceded in death by one brother, Darrell Thompson: two sisters, Wilma Jones and Patricia Farley; her first husband, Everett Mitchell Ayers; second husband Lawrence W. Allen; oldest son George Douglas Ayers and two grandchildren, Joetta Lynn Ayers and Adam Joseph Childress. She was the last surviving Member of her family.
Those survivors left to cherish her memory include: two brothers-in-law, Eddie Jones of Coal City and Tom Allen of Chicago; two sisters-in-law, Dorothy Ayers of Beckley and Liz Havens of Naples, New York. Also surviving Erma are 8 children, five daughters and three sons: Linda Ayers and husband John Harris of Fairmont, David Ayers and wife Lana of Lander, Wyoming, John Ayers of Beckley, Karen Bennett of Beckley (Mom Erma lived with her son John and daughter Karen at John’s house at Stanaford), Roberta Richmond of St. Albans, Wesley Ayers and wife Kathy of Cool Ridge, Mari Foster and husband John of Daniels, Rebekah (Bekki) Childress and fiance Kenny Unrah of Zap, North Dakota. She is also survived by 34 grandchildren, 43 great grandchildren and 2 great great grandchildren. She was blessed with many nephews and nieces and many great nephews and nieces. Erma had 3 stepchildren, Vicki Bell, Raymond and his wife Cathy and Rebecca. She loved her special friend Billy Callahan who was like an adopted son to her and she liked eating at Billy’s diner and at her daughter Mari’s house. Erma loved her dog Princess, her Pooh Bear and Tom the talking cat.
The family of Erma wishes to thank her good friend Jackie Crouse and all the children who were caregivers and helped out in any way. And thank you to all at Raleigh General and Raleigh Rehab Center who were especially kind and good hearted to her, and her family doctor, Dr. Paul Oar and to her eye doctor, Dr. Caudill. (She loved to hug the doctors too.)
She attended the old Collins School on Epperley Hill, Stoco High School at Lego, WV and later earned her GED which she was very proud of, finishing first on the test scores. Erma had a strong desire to pursue higher education. She attended Beckley College in the 70’s, Lee College in Cleveland, TN and Concord College at Athens, WV. She was also active for years in igniting New Life Ministries (Flame Fellowship) where she was past State Overseer and held numerous positions in the Beckley Chapter and was a lifetime member. She was a volunteer for the American Red Cross many years ago and loved to donate blood when she was younger , was a volunteer for the Beckley Area Foundation and helped for years in the church when she was able and needed and loved it. Erma was a longtime member of Beckley Church of God and also attended Faith Builders Worship Center. She loved praise and worship and dancing and praising before her God. She was a worshipper even when no one else was. She loved her brothers and sisters in Christ. Erma was a world traveler who loved life, giving hugs to all and meeting new people, especially young people. She never met a stranger. Everyone loved Mom Erma who was unique , special, genuine, and loving and a classy lady with good taste in clothes and a wonderful person to be around or sit with. She never had wrinkles (nor her mother Oka) and she never aged (even at 85) and she was one of a kind. Some of the countries she visited were: China, Brazil, Israel, Norway, Nigeria, Switzerland, Turkey, Jordan and Austria. Erma loved the missions field and traveling the world preaching the gospel and witnessing and spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to whomever she would meet on an airplane, bus, train, or while walking (she loved to walk.) She also started “The Gathering of God’s People” bringing local pastors and ministers and God’s people together for a time of praise and worship, preaching and fellowship.
Mom’s trademark was going around in the church and giving out hugs and smiles and handshakes to everyone and anyone who looked like they needed a big hug. She was known by several at Beckley Church of God as “Myrtle”. She had hundreds of friends locally, statewide, and across the USA and the world who just loved Erma and even sent postcards from overseas, or sent a letter or Christmas card or sometimes called by phone. That meant a lot to Mom. There are too many friends to list each and every name here, so Erma’s family would like to say “Thank You” to all of you for your fellowship and kindness, calls, cards and prayers for her, especially Gary and Margaret Hedrick, Jenny Noel, Liz Havens and Bobbie Leffew and Drema Hicks and Basil. Also Mom loved to give away personal things that belonged to her, such as hats, scarves, gloves and prayer shawls (Jewish).
Erma was licensed and ordained in the Kingsway Fellowship and Mom was the first one to be saved in her family and led many to the Lord through the years including family and friends. She was a former pastor, evangelist, an apostle and a talented and gifted writer, artist, and speaker who loved reading the Holy Bible through and through, especially Psalms and Isaiah.
A “Celebration of Life” will be held at the Beckley Church of God Tuesday, January 20 , 2015 at 7 PM to honor the life and legacy of Erma Jean Thompson Ayers Allen, with Bishop FD Sexton officiating, assisted by Pastor Virginia Jefferson. There will be a private viewing for the family per Erma’s request but all are invited to come celebrate and share in her “Celebration of Life” service. This is what she wanted.. Burial will be in Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens on Wednesday, January 21, 2015.
Grandchildren will serve as pallbearers.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the Erma Allen Ayers Memorial Fund at City National Bank, One Park Avenue Beckley, WV 25801.
Online condolences may be left at www.calfeefh.com.
Arrangements by Calfee Funeral Home, Beckley.