Erma Kelsey, 91, of Bolivar, passed away Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017, at Parkview Health Facility in Bolivar.

Erma was born Sept. 5, 1925, to Ralph and Grace (Murk) Nowell. She would spend her early life in El Dorado Springs. Following her marriage to J.M. Kelsey, she moved to Bolivar where Erma lived for over 20 years. During her time in Bolivar, she was employed by the Polk County Bank and later, as a caseworker by the Polk County office of the Missouri Division of Family Services.

Following the dissolution of her marriage to J.M, she moved to Rolla where she continued to work for the Division of Family Services. She later moved to Blue Springs as a result of a promotion to the position of Director of the Western Missouri region of the Child Support Enforcement Unit of the Missouri Division of Family Services. Following her retirement, Erma moved to Nixa and later to Springfield. As her need for care increased with age, she moved to Butterfield Residential Care Center in Bolivar to be nearer her family. As her health continued to deteriorate she became a resident of Parkview Health Care Facility which became her home for the final three years of her life.

Erma had three children – twins Synda L. (Kelsey) Douglas and Lynda S. (Kelsey) Douglas, and a son, James M. Kelsey. She was predeceased by Synda and by her parents. She is survived by her daughter, Lynda, and her husband, Kerry Douglas, of Bolivar; her son, Jim, and his wife, Megan Rundel, of Orinda, CA; and by four grandchildren – Thomas H. Douglas and his wife, Michele, of Springfield; K. Patrick Douglas and his wife, Gelin, of Bolivar; Kimberly A. Collins of Seattle, WA; and Jonah M. Kelsey of Orinda, CA. She is also survived by six great-grandchildren.

Erma loved being a mother and a grandmother. Her children and grandchildren were always the surest way to bring a smile to her face. Erma lived a full and fruitful life and will be remembered by some of her grandchildren as the cool grandma who jogged and who made the best French toast the world has ever tasted.

Having grown up in El Dorado Springs, she loved the summer band concerts and some of her fondest memories were of the Picnic downtown.

Erma was well respected by her colleagues at work, rose through the ranks to a position of leadership, and maintained friendships with many of her co-workers well after her retirement. She loved cats and dogs and was insistent that she should be able to take her cat with her to Butterfield and Parkview. Erma was a lifelong supporter of and contributor to military support groups, food banks, homeless shelters, animal care facilities and in her retirement volunteered as a worker at the Salvation Army facility in Springfield.

Erma was a member of the First Christian Church of Bolivar throughout her adult life.

Private family services will be held Sept. 9.

For friends wishing to memorialize Erma, the family suggests contributions to the Polk County Humane Society in care of Butler Funeral Home or sent directly to the Humane Society.

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