She graduated from Erie High School in Kansas and married Harold Buford Van Cleave on Sept. 25, 1951. Together they had four children, Lanus, Marcia, Connie and Michael.
Erma lived for over 40 years in Warrensburg, Mo., where she and Harold were longtime members of the First United Methodist Church. She was a devoted mother, wife, and friend to many. Erma was an energetic member of the community and enjoyed participating in many clubs and activities, including the Pioneer Garden Club and working at the UCM Bookstore.
For the last several years, Erma and Harold have resided in the south St. Louis area to be close to family members.
Receiving her bachelor's degree in education from Central Missouri State College, Erma taught home economics in the Deepwater/Lakeland School District, south of Clinton, Mo., for more than 10 years. She thoroughly enjoyed instructing and mentoring her students, sharing countless fond memories of her teaching days and keeping in touch with many students, even up to her death.
Erma also loved to travel with her family and friends, visiting many places within the United States and other parts of the world. After retirement, she and Harold became active members of the Truman RV Camping Club and continued their passion for travel.
Erma is survived by her loving husband of over 59 years, Harold Van Cleave. She is also survived by her daughter Lanus Setser and husband David of Peculiar, Mo.; daughter Connie Freeman and husband Roger of High Ridge, Mo.; and son Michael Van Cleave and wife Laurie of St. Louis, Mo.
Grandchildren include Nicole Williams and husband Jason of Maryland Heights, Mo.; Amanda Setser of Evansville, Ind.; Braden Young of Imperial, Mo.; Blake Young of High Ridge, Mo.; Jessica, Elizabeth and Christopher Van Cleave of St. Louis, Mo.; and one great-grandson, Dagon Williams of Maryland Heights, Mo. She is also survived by her brother-in-law Kenneth Jr. Van Cleave and wife Verna, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Preceding her in death was dear daughter Marcia Carlton, sister Flora and brother-in-law Charles Klenklen.
A celebration of life ceremony will be held at the First United Methodist Church in Warrensburg, Mo., on July 23 at 10 a.m. A family visitation will follow the ceremony.
In lieu of flowers, donations are requested for the First United Methodist Church Building Fund, 141 E. Gay Street, Warrensburg, Mo., 64093.