Erna Ruth (Fuerst) Laird, 87, passed away on December 23, 2013, in Rapid City. She was born on September 10, 1926, to Joseph and Magdalena Fuerst in White River, South Dakota.
Erna and her six brothers and sisters grew up on a farm in Cedar Butte. She was educated at Dakota Wesleyan and Springfield Universities and initially taught in Wagner. On June 13, 1948, she married Allen Laird, and they moved to Pickstown, where she taught elementary school and he coached. Erna and Allen soon moved back to White River, where she taught for over thirty years. She cared deeply for the children and wanted to make a difference in their lives.
Erna is survived by one sister, Delma (97), and three children: Roger, Judy (Gary) Rathke, and Jerry (Lynne). She enjoyed her five grandchildren, Christopher, Michael (Kjersten), Jacob (Lacy), Rebekah, and Jordan, as well as two great-grandchildren, Conor (4) and Nathan (16 months).
Erna loved spending time with family and friends, growing flowers, birdwatching, and listening to all types of music. She was a pianist who also played organ and sang in the choir at the Methodist church. As a member of the Legion Auxiliary Extension Club, Lions, Women’s Club, and Methodist Ladies’ Circle, she believed in supporting the community.
Erna was a gentle, caring woman who always thought of others first. She was a blessing to us all and will be greatly missed.
Visitation will be on Friday, December 27, 2013, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. MST at Kirk Funeral Home in Rapid City.
Funeral services will be on Saturday, December 28, 2013, at 11:00 a.m. CST at White River United Methodist Church in White River. Visitation will be one hour prior to the funeral service. Interment will follow at White River Cemetery.