Cover photo for Erna Seiss's Obituary
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1920 Erna 2022

Erna Seiss

July 15, 1920 — September 4, 2022

Erna Volkmann was born in East St. Louis, Illinois, on July 15, 1920 to Gustav (Adolph) and Frieda Volkmann and died peacefully in her sleep on September 4, 2022. She was 102 years old.

Erna earned her nursing diploma at the Barnes Jewish Hospital School of Nursing in St. Louis and became a U.S. Navy nurse during WWII. She was stationed in Oklahoma, Great Lakes Naval Base and San Francisco. While in the Navy, she met and married Howard Seiss, a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps and a carrier-based fighter-pilot and squadron leader. After the war they lived in Toledo, Ohio while he completed a B.A. degree. Subsequently they lived in numerous cities in the Midwest where he worked for Pontiac Motors.

They moved to Pontiac, Michigan in 1950 and there established their own business, Oakland Automotive Supply. Erna and Howard joined the First Congregational Church where Erna became the President of the Pilgrims Group, secretary and treasurer of the Congregators, and served two six-year terms as a Deaconess.

Erna was a devoted wife and mother of six children, Leslie and husband, Gerald Borsuk, of Washington, DC, Randolph Seiss and wife, Loraine Lund of Harbor Springs, MI, Laura Seiss of Gaithersburg, Maryland, Leland and wife, Ellen Seiss, of Bloomfield Hills, MI, Roberta and husband, Paul Haas of Plainwell, MI, Frederick and wife, Linda Seiss of Florence, SC.

While raising her children, she served as a Home Room Mother at the Irving Elementary School, was Co-chair of the school's end-of-year fair, and served as Secretary, Treasurer, and Vice President of the PTO.

Erna was also a Cub Scout Leader, teaching the boys many handcrafts and putting on a play at each monthly Troop Meeting and was co-leader of Brownie and Girl Scouts troops for five years.

Erna was a lifelong lover of books, letters and the humanities. She frequently wrote beautiful and thoughtful letters to her children and grandchildren. She was always up on current events reading the daily newspaper and watching the National Nightly News TV programs. She also loved to watch Jeopardy daily in her later years. She lived a full life cognizant and considerate of all around her with a kind and open heart to all that she came in contact with.

Erna enjoyed needlework, ceramic painting and crossword and jigsaw puzzles. She also did bookkeeping for her husband's business. After they retired, they moved to Plainwell, Michigan to be near her youngest daughter, Roberta. Her husband died in 1999. Subsequently, Erna alternated time between Plainwell and Washington, DC staying with her eldest daughter, Leslie.

In addition to her children, she is survived by eight grandchildren: Gregory Borsuk and his wife, Rebecca, Lisa Borsuk, Marisa Seiss, Matthew Seiss and his wife, Lauren, Genevieve Haas and her husband, Neil Poglese, Michael Haas, and Zachary and Holly Seiss; and four great-grandchildren: Benjamin, Gabriel, Eva, and Isabella Borsuk.

Arrangements are by Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care. Interment will be at the Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, Michigan at a later date.


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