Erma Lee Carico was born April 29, 1931 in Enid, Oklahoma to parents Troy and Ethel Carico. She passed away on Monday January 10, 2022 at age 90. Her early schooling was in Enid. The family moved to Ponca City, Oklahoma in 1944 where she attended East Junior High and Ponca City High School graduating in 1949. Erma always had a passion for people and knew from a young age that she wanted to be a nurse. Dr. Bob Gibson hired her while still in high school to work in the clinic then located on Grand Avenue. On January 20, 1951 she and Lester W. Mathes were married just 10 days before he was inducted into the army. They made their first home in Ponca City after Lester was discharged and had two children Lester W. "Bill" Mathes, Jr in 1952 and Linda came two years later in 1954. Erma was a gifted seamstress who enjoyed making clothes for herself, her children and eventually her grandchildren. In 1968 she began the fulfillment of a lifelong dream and entered nursing school at Blackwell Hospital graduating as a Licensed Practical Nurse in 1969. She went on to work at Ponca City hospital working in many different departments. One of her favorites was on the psychiatric ward. In the early 70's she was chosen to start a new department at the hospital called Inhalation Therapy, later being called Respiratory Therapy when the department went to 24 hour service and finally Cardio-Pulmonary Therapy. She and Lester enjoyed traveling by motorcycle all over the United States. After she retired, they continued to travel extensively on the bike finally transitioning to a camper and becoming "snowbirds". A highlight of their travels was visiting South Korea while their son, Bill, was stationed there with the Army. After Lester passed away in 2008, Erma continued traveling with her daughter, Linda, who was a traveling cardiac sonographer. She particularly enjoyed Alaska and Nashville, Tennessee. In 2012 she relocated permanently to Urbana, Illinois to live with Linda even as they continued their travels. Erma enjoyed many hobbies including reading, painting, cooking and making homemade greeting cards. Erma always found much strength and comfort in her very strong faith in the Lord and loved reading her Bible, playing the organ in church, and teaching Sunday School. She was very generous and dedicated to her family and helping anyone in need always giving of herself freely. She was "Grandma" to everyone she met and you couldn't help but love her. Erma is survived by her children Bill and wife, Kathy of Slidell, LA, Linda of Urbana, Illinois, a brother, Ryan Caenn and wife, Anne of Laguna Beach, CA, grandchildren John and wife, Erin of Lawton, Oklahoma, Dianna and husband, David of Duncan Oklahoma, Taryn Elam of Champaign, Illinois and Matt Elam of Urbana, Illinois, great grandchildren Lyric Pruett and partner Dylan Hodgdon of Lawton, Oklahoma, Gideon Kwon of Puhang, South Korea, Andre', Jacob and Caylee Reed of Duncan, Oklahoma, Ricky Chartier of Duncan, Oklahoma, Jasmine Elam of Tuscola, Illinois, Mary Elam and partner Amanda Cooley of Ivesdale, Illinois, great great grandson Aiden Pruett of Puhang, South Korea, also several nieces, nephews, cousins and many dear friends. Erma was predeceased by her parents, her husband and two great great great grandsons, Braydon and Wyatt. In lieu of floral gifts the family requests donations be made in Erma's name to one of her favorite charities, The Regulators Motorcycle Association of Champaign County P.O. Box 847, Urbana, IL 61803.
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