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JUNE 4, 1909 -- NOV. 1, 2004

Erma Meisenheimer, a retired Hamburg public school teacher, died Monday in the Chautauqua County Home. She was 95.

The first woman president of the New York State Retired Teachers Association, she received its highest award, the Certificate of Recognition, in 1995. She was recognized for her "gift of time and self to all," as well as for "excellence in teaching English, gentle firmness and talent, humor and humility."

Known as "Mama Meis" by hundreds of her former students, she taught in the Hamburg Central School District for 41 years, retiring in 1972.

Born Erma Borchart in Silver Creek, she was a graduate of Silver Creek High School. She earned a bachelor's degree in education at the University of Buffalo and did graduate work in English and supervision at Vassar College and Columbia University.

Mrs. Meisenheimer taught English and social studies to junior high schoolers and English to juniors and seniors. She also taught Advanced Placement courses. She was chairwoman of the English department and adviser to the National Honor Society. She also worked with practice teachers and was instrumental in creating a senior high reading laboratory.

She served AARP as national chairwoman of an ad hoc committee on legal rights for the elderly. She also was named Woman of the Year by the Business & Professional Women's Club.

A past president of the Hamburg Women's Club, Mrs. Meisenheimer also was a member of the Hamburg Garden Club and Hamburg Antique Study Group and was a travel lecturer at the Buffalo Museum of Science.

Among her other interests, she played violin and sang in choirs, fished and golfed, traveled throughout Europe and flew as a licensed pilot.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday in St. James United Church of Christ, 76 Main St., Hamburg, where she was a substitute minister. Burial will be in Silver Creek Cemetery.


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