A native of Jacksonville will turn 109 years old Wednesday.
Erma Killion Meador was born Oct. 9, 1910 and has lived in Jacksonville most of her life. Though born in Texarkana, she spent her early years in Mexia and married M. O. (Sonny) Masters in 1927. They brought Props bakery to Jacksonville in the early 1930’s. When her first husband died, Erma continued to work, selling Elizabeth Arden cosmetics. Although trying several times, they were unable to have children.
She lived for short periods in San Antonio and Tyler before marrying F. M. (Buster) Meador in 1950. They moved back to Jacksonville after living in Tyler for two years. Erma and Buster were loyal supporters of the Jacksonville community and active members of Central Baptist Church, where Erma taught Sunday school for more than 20 years. Although they had no children, Erma had several nieces and nephews. She and Buster also had six godchildren, and loved the many children she worked with in church.
She also volunteered as a Pink Lady, was a member of the Medical Auxiliary, Lioness Club, and was an officer in the Crippled Children Association. After Buster’s death in 1965, Erma continued to live and work in Jacksonville. She sold women’s fashions in Sybil’s dress shop and cosmetics at Merle Norman.
In her later years she has served as a caregiver for those more elderly, ill, or invalid than she. After turning 88, Erma officially retired, but continues to provide her loving service to all around her. Erma moved to Travis Towers in 2001 and was the oldest resident there until she moved to Kilgore.
In August 2014 she fell and broke her hip at 103 years of age. She underwent surgery and physical therapy in Tyler. Although enduring much pain, Erma was determined to fully recover. The doctors and therapists were astounded at her progress, saying she was a miracle! She moved to Kilgore to continue her therapy and be close to one of her godchildren, Nina Verheyden. Erma has resided in Arabella of Kilgore Assisted Living facility since that time. Although restricted primarily to a wheelchair, she is still very mentally acute and healthy. Her sparkling, cheery attitude delights and inspires everyone she encounters.
In October, 2017, Erma was able to visit with Franklin Graham in a private meeting during his Decision Texas tour stop in Longview, Texas. This was definitely a highlight for Erma, being a longtime supporter and enthusiast of his father, the late Billy Graham. The meeting was a special blessing for both of them.
Last year at 108, Erma was a part of the New England Centenarian research study performed by Boston University for folks who have reached 100 or more years. They wanted a bit of her “good blood” to test and some bits of wisdom after seeing so many things during her long life. There is a video of her somewhere out there on the Internet and information they published about her and other centenarians. Next year, she might be asked to be part of their “super-centenarian” study for those 110 or above!
Erma will celebrate with small group of family and friends on Wednesday.
The Progress staff wishes her a very Happy Birthday!