Eureka: A musical celebration of the life of Erva Lorrayne Neuharth, 92, of Eureka will be 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012, at St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Eureka.
Burial will be in the Eureka City Cemetery.
Visitation will be Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. and on Wednesday from 9 to 11 a.m. at the funeral home.
Erva died Friday, Feb. 24, 2012, at Avera Eureka Health Care Center.
Erva came into this world Oct. 15, 1919, in Ashley, N.D. She was the second oldest of five children born to John and Elizabeth (Schmierer) Schaeffer. At the age of four, the family moved to Eureka; there she attended grade school and graduated from Eureka High in 1937. Westmar College in LeMars, Iowa, and Northern State College, Aberdeen, provided her with the educational skills to teach rural schools in the Eureka area for five years and one year in Centerville, S.D. During these years, she met the handsome love of her life, Richard (Dick) Fred Neuharth. They married May 23, 1942, in Fort Lewis, Wash., where Richard was stationed in the military.
The couple lived in Washington, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Delaware, California and Northern Alberta, Canada, during Dick's four year military career. Erva was employed with the Del Monte factory in both Washington and California. In 1946, they moved to Chicago where Richard attended Coynes Electric School and Erva worked for the Sunbeam factory. Following the completion of Richard's schooling, they returned to Eureka and were blessed with a daughter, Terry Sheila.
After the passing of Erva's mother in 1950, the family relocated to her parent's home on the hill. They lived with and cared for her father for 25 years until his death. She was a great homemaker and also served in the position of assistant office manager at the Eureka Community Hospital for 15 years. Richard and Erva had celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary before Richard's passing in 1994. Erva remained in their home on the hill until 2004, when the Eureka Health Care Center became her home.
Erva's passion was music; her life centered around it. If she wasn't playing the piano by ear or singing with all her heart, she was listening to someone else's music. Her talent was legendary in the Eureka community. Family and friends would gather around the piano for songfests that would often go into the wee hours of the morning. She loved to jazz it up and could play just about anything. Sometimes she'd say just hum a few bars and before long she was playing the entire song. Her only grandson, Nathan, inherited her musical abilities and was the joy of her life.
Richard and Erva were gracious hosts who enjoyed entertaining and welcomed guests into their home. The two were well-known for dressing up, whether for fancy occasions or masquerade; they definitely enjoyed life and frequently danced away the nights. They enjoyed traveling and during retirement spent several winters in Arizona and Texas.
Erva taught Sunday school and was a choir member for many years at the Eureka Reformed Church. She was community minded and active in several organizations including the Eureka Hospital Auxiliary, Order of the Eastern Star, Retired Rural Teachers of SD, Yelduz Shrine Auxiliary, Hobby Extension Club, Women of the Moose, Eureka Senior Center and the United Church of Christ. She was proud to be a charter and life member of the VFW Auxiliary. Erva's compassionate care for her cat family afforded her much pleasure. Her great sense of humor and zest for living served as an example and an inspiration to her many friends.
Survivors include her daughter, Terry, son-in-law Kelly, and grandson, Nathan Ross Klusmann, all of Dickinson, N.D.; two sisters-in-law and numerous nieces and nephews. Preceding her in death were her parents; husband; one sister, Esther; and three brothers: Floyd, John and Bob.
Carlsen Funeral Home of Eureka have been entrusted with arrangements. carlsenfh.com