Erna Heisler was dedicated farm wife
Erna Marie Heisler, 92, of Sioux Falls, died of natural causes on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, at a nursing home in Great Falls, Mont.
A memorial service will be held at a later time in Herreid. Schnider Funeral Home of Great Falls is handling the arrangements.
Erna joined the John and Suzie Steiger family on Feb. 12, 1921. She came to play with her older sister, Martha. She was born in a farmhouse nine miles north and 2.5 miles east of Glenham. Erna was delivered by Katherine Dupper, her maternal grandmother. She was of German farming heritage. Erna was educated in a one-room school and later at Glenham High School. Later in life, she achieved her bachelor’s degree at Northern State College in Aberdeen. She taught elementary school for several years in a one-room school house at the Knutson School six miles southwest of Mound City, where she stoked the furnace and kept potatoes on top for the kids when it got cold creating “hot potatoes” to help keep warm. She later taught grade school in Herreid.
Erna married Andrew Heisler on Nov. 4, 1945. They initially lived two miles west of Mound City. They eventually moved to a farm four miles west of Mound City and continued in the farming and cattle business. They operated the farm as a team. Erna worked with Andy in doing nearly every task on the farm, including milking cows, cultivating corn, purchasing vehicles and other things. Their daughter, Nancy, joined them on June 4, 1947. Erna was so dedicated to the farm that she was still milking cows in late May, with Nancy ready to join them.
Some of the more memorable events were when Andy drained the water from a tractor, put the water plug on the seat so it would be noticed, Erna went out to use the tractor, put the plug in the toolbox and drove the tractor into the field, minus the water. Another story is when Erna was cultivating corn that had been planted with a two-row planter, and she was using a two-row cultivator. When she got to the last rows of corn, she had one row left that was not cultivated. Never did figure out what happened to the other row.
Erna had lived in Herreid and Sioux Falls and recently moved to Great Falls to join her daughter and grandson.
Erna was a member of the Herreid Baptist Church and a self-taught musician. She played the piano and organ. She and Martha sang a duet for many church and social functions.
Erna is survived by her daughter, Nancy Heisler of Great Falls; brothers, Melvin Steiger of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Clayton (Connie) Steiger of Mobridge; grandson, Patrick (Karen) Mott of Cascade, Mont.; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Andy Heisler; her parents; sister, Martha (Ben) Heisler; brother, LeRoy (LaVern) Steiger; and sister-in-law, Ellie Steiger.