Obituaries Erma Ruth Houchins

Erma Ruth Houchins


TOPEKA — Erma Ruth Houchins, 96, Topeka, died Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021.

She was born June 3, 1925, in Lyndon, the daughter of Ben and Zella (Vaughn) Burkdoll. She grew up on the family farm, graduating from Lyndon High School in 1943. She then attended Clark’s Business School.

Erma married her sailor and the love of her life, Max L. Houchins, Dec. 30, 1945, on the family farm, Lyndon. After Max’s honorable discharge from the Navy, they moved to Topeka in 1946 and began their family.

She worked for Topeka Public Schools in food service, retiring after more than 20 years. She was a member of Highland Park United Methodist Church and previously Northland Christian Church.

Erma loved her family and was most happy when they were all together. She enjoyed cooking, and made the best pies, especially apple and cherry. She was an avid gardener, growing both flowers and vegetables. Her faith was strong and an inspiration to her family.

She was preceded in death by her husband; two brothers; one sister; a granddaughter, Nancy Gutierrez, and her husband, Andrew.

Erma is survived by her children, James B. Houchins (Golda), Topeka, and Holly A. Coleman (Joel), Bozeman, Mont.; six grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren; and 11 great-great grandchildren.

Erma’s family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff at Aldersgate Village in the Lincoln Unit and Interim Hospice for the care and compassion provided to Erma through the years.

Visitation will be 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 21, at Highland Park United Methodist Church, with funeral services starting at 11 a.m. Burial will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery.

Condolences can be left at

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