Erma Alta (Newell) Hellie 1927-2018
Erma Alta (Newell) Hellie, a 47-year resident of Colville, WA, passed away on July 9, 2018 at Pinewood Terrace Nursing Home. Erma was born in Harlem, MT on September 25, 1927 to Chester F. Newell and Erma A. (Sheely) Newell and was the youngest of five.
Erma was raised in Turner, MT where she graduated in 1944 from Turner High School, being a 12-year senior. Erma met Earl Hellie when he began to teach in Turner, and they were married on September 5, 1944 in Havre, MT. They welcomed their first child, Larry, in 1945. The family moved to Fruitland, WA in 1946 where Earl taught school and Erma volunteered at the school and was an active member of the Enterprise Grange Home Ec Club. Erma and Earl manned the Rogers Mountain Lookout for the summers 1948-1950, where Erma cooked on a wood stove, carried water and fire wood and washed clothes on the washboard. This was a new experience and a real pioneer life. Their second child, Linda, was born in 1949 and in 1951 the family moved to Davenport, WA, where Earl taught 6th grade and spent the summers working outside of Colville at the Old Dominion Guard Station for the National Forest Service. Erma again used a wood stove, gas washing machine and kerosene lamps. Their third child, Laurel, was born in 1953. In 1961, the family transferred to Republic with the Forest Service and Erma worked at the ASCA office. In 1964 the family transferred to Kettle Falls. Their son, Lan was born in 1965. The family moved to Colville in 1971. After Earl’s passing in 1986, Erma worked a number of jobs including the Colville Jr. High kitchen, the Colville Chamber of Commerce, and the Forest Service. She also became a member of the Fort Colville Grange.
In 2017, Erma moved into Pinewood Terrace Nursing Home where she received the best care anyone could ask for. Before Earl passed away in 1986 and they valued family and community. Both participated in volunteering many places including the Stevens County Historical Society, the NE WA Fair and Erma ended up with the honor of serving the most years as room mother at many schools. Erma loved to work jigsaw and crossword puzzles and play both board and card games. Erma never missed the newspaper and loved knitting many hats, scarves and afghans for the needy. Her baking and candy are something many won’t forget and she loved making them. She will be missed by many for her “wit and wisdom”.
Erma was preceded in death by her parents, husband Earl, and siblings Fritz, Chet, Roxanne and Nellie.
Erma is survived by her daughter Laurel (Mike) Somerlott of Colville, WA, son Lan of Colville, WA, her son Larry (Marsy) Hellie of Vancouver, WA, and daughter Linda (Ralph) of Boise, ID. She is survived by “her special” granddaughter Tiffany (Kowitz) Quilici of Boise, ID, two other grandchildren, and 6 great grandchildren.