Erma Irene Carstens

Erma Irene Prior Carstens, 86, of College Station, Texas peacefully left this earth to be with her Lord on the afternoon of December 28, 2009. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on January 3, 2010 at the A&M Church of Christ in College Station. Burial will follow in Kensington, Kansas.

Erma was born September 22, 1923 in Reno County, Kansas to Hugh and Melvia Prior. Erma was raised in a loving home filled with singing, laughter, hard work and love for the Lord, and she rose early to milk cows, she memorized scriptures written on a blackboard in the family kitchen, and sang in a trio with her sisters, Dorene and Myrna. She was raised in the close knit community of Peace Creek, Kansas, which was originally homesteaded by her grandparents, J.B. and Anna Clothier. Her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins surrounded her throughout childhood. The Christian family at the Peace Creek Church provided Erma the roots that defined her faith in the Lord and allowed God to fashion her into a woman after His own heart.

In 1942, Erma graduated from Sylvia High School. She then earned a degree in education from Ft. Hays State College in Kansas. Erma began her teaching career in a one room school house where she lit the fire in the stove and taught children of all ages. She later accepted a teaching position in Kensington, Kansas and fell in love with a handsome U S Army pilot, Reed Carstens. The two married and relocated to Olympia, Washington where their daughter, Cathy, was born. They later moved to Burbank, California, and their family was joined by two sons, Murray and Scott.

Erma continued her teaching career at an inner-city high school in Los Angeles where she taught home economics. Following a move to a farm near Kensington, Kansas, in 1962, Erma went back to teaching in a rural one room school. She continued her teaching career in Salina, Kansas where she taught reading. Erma retired in 1980 after 30 years of sharing her love for learning with children. In 1999 Erma, sometimes known as Meg (Mother, Erma, Grandma) moved from Kansas to Texas to be near her children and grandchildren. She spent the last ten years of her life living and loving with a whole new set of friends.

Along with her husband, Reed, Erma raised her children with strong Christian values. She was a life-long member of the Church of Christ and always put the Lord first in her life. Erma never hesitated to share her faith with others, and she enjoyed teaching Sunday school to children, teaching women’s Bible study classes and encouraging everyone she met. Erma will always be remembered for her gentle spirit, her kindness and her faithfulness to the Lord.

Erma was preceded in death by her loving husband of more than 40 years, Reed H. Carstens; her parents, Hugh and Melvia Prior; four brothers, Lynn, Allen, Gilbert and Bruce Prior and one sister, Rita.

She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Dr. Charles and Cathy Anderson of College Station, TX; two sons and daughters-in-law, Murray and Helen Carstens of College Station, TX and Scott and Jody Carstens of Carrollton, TX; two sisters and brothers-in-law. Eldon and Dorene Rietzke of Salina, KS and Harold and Myrna Dixon of Garland, TX; twin sisters-in-law, Lucine Harris of Salina, KS and Lorraine Bridges of Houston, TX, sisters-in-law Billie Prior of New Braunfels, TX, Louise Carstens of Tempe, AZ, and Delores Carstens of Minneapolis, MN.

Erma is also survived by her beloved grandchildren: Jonathan and Ashley Anderson of Houston, TX; David Anderson and fiancé, Sara Gregersen of College Station, TX; Michael and Natasha Anderson of Dallas, TX; Ryan, Seth, Zach and Alex Carstens of College Station, TX; Mandy, Dani, Trevor and Faith Carstens of Carrollton, TX; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be sent to Salina Church of Christ, 1646 N 9th Street, Salina, KS 67401 or to Lincoln House of Hope, A&M Church of Christ, 2475 Earl Rudder Fwy., College Station, TX 77840.


  1. Dr.and Mrs.Anderson and family,
    May the Lord grant you all strength and comfort. Mrs.Anderson I see that your mother was as precious and kind as you.
    Our love and prayers.

  2. To express our deep sympathy to you on your loss. We thank your husband for serving our country during WW II in the U.S.Army Air Corps & you being there for him. You both were members of “the greatest generation”. May God’s Speed Be With This Family. We thank you Mrs. Carstens for your dedication to our childrens education as a teacher.

  3. To the dear family and friends of Erma Carstens,

    I would like to express my deepest sympathies on the passing of Erma. I imagine it is a bittersweet time for you – missing her greatly yet knowing her devotion to Christ and that she now rests with him. She was one of the sweetest, kindest persons I’ve ever met.

    Erma and her sister, Doreen, were two of the first people to greet me at church when I moved to Salina, Kansas many years ago. I’m certain that does not surprise you in the least. She was friendly, outgoing and a beautiful, beautiful person. We spent many hours drinking peppermint tea in her family room in Salina with her telling me all about her husband, children and grandchildren. She was so proud of her family.

    I wish I was able to come pay my respects in person. She touched my life and I’m a better person for having known her.

    Andrea Hart

  4. I returned from the Christmas holidays and read about your precious mother, Erma and grandmother. I am the niece of Rosie Brown at the Carriage Inn. I was so privileged to get to know MEG. She added so much joy to everyone at the Carriage Inn. She and I talked frequently about teaching and her family. I was so saddened to hear about her death. She looked so good at the Christmas Open House. I thank God I was able to talk with her and give her a hug that night. My thoughts and prayer are with your family.

  5. How do I begin? Erma was a breath of fresh air… I have known no one like her.

    I met her as I grew up in the youth group at A&M Church of Christ. Erma was always active in encouraging the youth.

    One of my most vivid memories of Erma was during the Sweetheart luncheon. This is an event that our youth group put on around Valentine’s day every year for the elderly in the church. We decided to have a hat contest, and Erma sported a hat, complete with a boa around her neck! She was always so spunky, full of life and energy. I never heard her complain- instead, she constantly counted her blessings. She was sure to invest in others beyond a surface level. She always asked me about my walk with the Lord, cutting right to the chase. I admire her boldness for Christ. She was unashamed to speak of Him, and her relationships were full of purpose.

    As I moved into the Aggies for Christ, Erma was constantly serving. She helped serve breakfast each Sunday for our Bible class, and she was always working behind the scenes for various causes. She ALWAYS wore beautiful outfits to church. I loved admiring how all of her jewelry coordinated so perfectly with her ensemble. She loved to make a statement in bright, cheery colors!

    She spoke lovingly of her husband who had passed away many years prior, and she honored him by continuing to remember and talk about how the Lord worked in their lives and marriage.

    Erma was one of my best friends. She gave me passion for the Lord, taught me the beauty of selflessness, and created an image of the woman in Christ I hope to be. I love her dearly, and I pray that one day I can be for others what Erma was and is to me… I know she is dancing with the Lord, and I imagine she is brightening up heaven with bright colors, smiles and laughter!

  6. I found a North Burbank California address for Erma and Reed in my mother’s addresses recently.
    I remember with fondness she and her parents visiting my Grandmother Kate G. Prior in Wauneta Nebraska. My own parents are now gone as well (Wendell H. Prior January 2004, Lila V. Prior September 2009) And now my Dad’s sister, Wyonna Jean Prior Hollinger December 2014. They were a special generation and we as cousins, children were blessed in the time we had among uncles, aunts, cousins, in the Prior family. May the LORD bless each of you in Erma’s family. Janeta Prior Fong

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