A dear friend to everyone she met, Erma gave away hugs and served as confidant to many. While living in Billings, MT between 1960 and 2012, she was active in Red Hatters and Mayflower Congregational Church. Erma worked as a temporary switchboard operator and secretary for numerous Billings companies. She enjoyed sewing clothing for many years and designed and made beautiful wedding dresses for her daughters and daughter-in-law. Her Siamese cats and flower gardens were special.
Through Friendship Force and her husband Hap’s MSU-Billings students, they made lifetime friends from all over the world. Hap and Erma visited most states in the US and especially enjoyed trips to New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Canada and England with family members and Friendship Force. Her trip through the Panama Canal with her daughter was also memorable.
Born in 1925 in Newcastle, CO, Erma Rodreick spent her childhood on the family’s farm. After high school, she moved to Denver and married Cleburne “Hap” Gilliland, her partner for 70 years. They lived in Arcata, CA before moving to Billings where they later lived in a home their son built. Hap and Erma moved from Billings to Bozeman in 2012 to live in assisted living near their daughter Diane. The last few years with her brought many rewards and lessons about appreciating each moment – she valued every person she talked with during the day.
Erma, 96 years old, passed away on April 22, 2021. She was preceded in death by her husband Hap and son Dwight Gilliland. She will be missed by her children Lori (Steve) Sargent of Louisville, KY, Diane (Peter) Bakun of Belgrade, MT, daughter-in-law Kristi Gilliland of Billings, three grandchildren and four great grandchildren.