Mary Erb

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In a Nutshell- Written by Mary Erb

If you are reading this, or if it’s being read to you, it’s because I have checked into a new place with no area codes, zip codes, computer applications, or passwords to remember.

It all began for me on August 29, 1932, when Dr. Dean Burns delivered me to James and Vergene (Glidden) Whitfield, at the old Petoskey Hospital on Lake Street. Growing up on Walloon Lake was anything but a hardship. Summers were spent building sandcastles, swimming, waterskiing, and attending Camp Daggett. Winters were equally traumatic with activities centered around sledding, tobogganing, ice-skating, and building snowmen. I went to Central Elementary School in Petoskey through the fourth grade.

When WWII started, my parents, brothers, George and Jim, and sister, Dorothy moved to Saginaw where my father worked as an engineer designing aircraft propellers at the Chevrolet Plant. The new urban environment introduced me to jacks (also known as knucklebones), hopscotch, softball, and Saturday afternoon matinees. If you don’t know what some of these are, just” google” them.

Following a family tradition, in 1945, I began attending high school at Wayland Academy in Beaver Dam, WI, graduating in 1949.

While attending Central Michigan University, I met my husband, Pierce Erb, and we were married for 68 years before he passed away in 2019. We raised a wonderful daughter, Deborah, who had the good sense to marry Gary Green, the best son-in-law one could have. Their lovely daughter, Erin, also had the good sense to marry my terrific grandson-in-law, Daham Sol. Both Pierce and I always felt very fortunate to have had such a caring, supportive, fun family.

As for my working years, it all began in 1944, behind a lunch counter in Saginaw, after I received my Social Security card at the age of 12. In the ensuing years, I worked at Gattle’s Linens, Maters Boat Works, Petoskey Beverage Company, and Boyne Mountain, in bookkeeping and office management positions.

Community service was always important to me, which led to my being the Melrose Township clerk for 16 years, and later, treasurer of the Crooked Tree Library. In the late 1990s, interest developed in having a dedicated building for the library at Walloon Lake and I soon became involved with that worthwhile effort. As members of The Friends of the Library, Cynthia Hermann collaborated with me to publish Walloon Yesterdays, a pictorial history of Walloon Lake, with proceeds going towards maintaining the new library.

Retirement was another wonderful time of my life. It afforded me more time for two favorite past times, downhill skiing and traveling. Pierce and I camped and skied our way through the United States together. I was later joined by various friends on wonderful trips to New Zealand, the fjords of Norway, the Swiss Alps, and other European destinations.

With the passing of time and children in our lives, I joined several Petoskey ladies with whom I met monthly for pot-luck lunches while the kids were in school. We remained a very close-knit group for well over 50 years. There were also several ladies who played an important role in my life. Katie Littmann, whom I have known since I was eight, Cynthia Hermann, Rosemary Renwick, Penny Marshall, Sheryl Goodrich, and Rose Thelen are especially dear to me. My family and I would also like to thank Hospice of Michigan and the Comfort Keepers for the loving care they gave me.

As you probably know, it is always sad to lose someone you love, and I dearly miss those who preceded me in death, my parents; my husband, Pierce; my brother, George, and his two sons, Gary and Steve; my sister, Dorothy, her husband, Walter Ericks, and their daughter, Judy.

My survivors include my brother, Jim Whitfield; daughter, Debbie (Gary) Green; granddaughter, Erin (Daham) Sol; niece, Lynn Ardman; nephews, Mark, Scott & JC Whitfield, David and Walter Ericks, and numerous cousins.

I will end with the following, “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming, WOW, What a ride!!”

By the way, please consider donations in my memory to the Crooked Tree District Library (CTDL), PO Box 518, Walloon Lake, MI. 49796.

The very best to all of you…. Love, Mary.

6 comments on “Mary Erb”

  1. Wow!!! Mary, you were a great friend to work with, always cheerful and fun, yet kind and wise. I will miss you. Love, Lucia

  2. I did not know Mary but as a reader of obituary’s which I consider “The Stories of Life” Mary’s was the best I have ever read. She must have been a delightful person with an amazing sense of humor! I would have loved to travel through life with her! For those of you who knew and loved her, consider yourself blessed.

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