Erma Irene Campbell, 84, died on June 13, 2020.
Erma was born on July 12, 1935, in West Helena, Ark., to Robert and Alberta Sims. During her childhood years, she attended Beech Crest School. She was a very quick learner and upon completing the second grade, she skipped ahead directly to the fourth grade. She also learned to sing and play the piano at this time. Erma was active at West Helena Baptist Church and she placed her faith in Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior at the age of nine. She loved attending Sunday School, sang in the youth choir, and was part of the church’s Girls Auxiliary Club.
Erma went on to Central High School in Helena, where she played forward on the girls basketball team all four years. She also played the clarinet in the school band and was a majorette during her senior year. She graduated in May 1952. That summer, she became engaged to Jerome (Jerry) Campbell. She was 17 and Jerry was 19 when they married on Nov. 16, 1952. They were married for 62 years before Jerry passed away in 2013.
Erma was a member of Bryant Street Baptist Church for over 34 years. She was a Sunday School teacher, director of the senior choir, leader in the Golden Agers senior group, and served as the church accountant for several years. She also played organ and piano for worship services and others, as well as presenting special music, both solo and duets with Jerry. Both were also part of a Southern Gospel Quartet called The Way Singers, recording four albums and performing in various churches throughout Southern California.
In 1992, after 20 years on the job, Erma retired as the accounting manager for Redlands School District. Afterward, she enjoyed traveling with Jerry to different parts of the U.S, and abroad. She remained active as a leader at Bryant Street Baptist Church in the Women’s Ministry and Golden Agers, as well as the Christian Business Women’s Club in the Yucaipa/Redlands area.
Erma was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was also a beloved friend and mentor to many. Her sweet spirit and her pleasant demeanor along with her beautiful, double-dimpled smile, welcomed everyone. Her sincere faith in God and Christ-like behavior was demonstrated in the way that she lived and in how she loved others. Erma has left a lasting imprint on those who knew her and her memory will live on in the hearts and lives of those she touched.
Erma is preceded in death by her husband, Jerry, her parents, and brother Robert Sims, Jr.
She is survived by her brother John Sims and his wife Linda, son Glen, daughter Kathi Frisch and her husband Jim, son Gordon and his wife, Sondra: 13 grandchildren and their spouses, and 26 great-grandchildren.
A Celebration of Erma’s Life is planned for Saturday, Sept. 19, at 2 p.m. at Active Church located at 12954 Bryant St. in Yucaipa.