Sunday, November 13, 2011

RIP, Erna Dorn (1928-2011)

To many, Erna was the "Hug Lady". She always had a hug and a smile for everyone. She even handed out "Hug Cards", redeemable for the next time she'd see you.

I first met Erna and her husband, Louis, at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. We were singing in an Evensong for the Epiphany. I still remember after the service, Louis approached me and started to speak to me in a language I thought was French. So I asked him, "Répétez s’il vous plaît?" He did, but in a language I realised was not French but Tagalog! So we proceeded to have a conversation, he speaking in Tagalog, and me responding in English. People around us were astounded: how were we communicating?

I later learned they spent 21 years in the Philippines as missionaries before returning to the United States in the 1970s. They referred to their time in the Philippines as their '21-year honeymoon."

We saw each other from time to time over the years. They eventually left Durham for the Chicago area to be closer to one of their children, especially after the health problems Louis experienced. I know their children probably felt better about having them nearby.

I had received a phone call a couple of days ago, informing me that Erna had passed away. It was sudden; she and Louis had finished having their supper, and then Erna said she wasn't feeling well. It was a blessing that she was taken so quickly, and that she didn't suffer.

I'll miss you, Erna. I'll miss your smile, your hugs, and your stories. Rest in peace.

Condolences also to Louis, as well as to their children and grandchildren and other family members and friends.

Click here to read the obituary.

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