Hilma Ellen Wright Bartholomew was born February 24, 1914, the third child of George Washington and Olga Johanna Lindquist Wright near Erie, Kansas, in rural Neosho County. She graduated from Erie High School in 1931 where she participated in music and theatre.
She married Boyd Edmund Bartholomew March 6, 1932, in Earlton, Kansas, at the Evangelical United Brethren parsonage. He preceded her in death January 15, 1987. They bought a farm northwest of Erie in 1933. She lived on their farm seventy years until entering care facilities in 2003, first at Arkhaven in Erie and later at Chanute Health Care, where she passed away May 24, 2010.
They had eight children: Johnnie (deceased 1940), Walter (Darlene) (deceased 2000), George (Rosa) (deceased 1984), Louis (Fran) of Springfield MO, Nancy (Joe Hansen) Kernick of Chanute, Tom (Terri) of Erie, Boyd Lee (Mary) (deceased 1987), and RuthEllen (Michael) Simpson of Pittsburg.
She and Boyd farmed row crops and raised beef cattle and sheep. Although their farm was destroyed by a tornado in 1948, they built their farming operation back. Together with their children and parents, they constructed all new buildings and a new home following the storm and started over, adding turkey growing and processing in the late 1950’s. They farmed until his ill health forced retirement in the late 60’s. She then worked as a cook at the Village Inn Restaurant and cleaned houses.
An active member of the community, she participated in many diverse organizations during her life. Membership was held in Mt. Pleasant Methodist Church, Shaw Christian Church, and Erie Federated Church, where she was a member for over 50 years. She was involved in United Methodist Women, Ladies Circle, and various committees. She was a member and officer in Lively Learners Extension Homemakers Unit. Each year she helped with the March of Dimes fundraising efforts.
She founded Shamrock 4-H Club and served as community leader and project leader. Later, she was clothing project leader for Lucky 13 4-H. She volunteered in many capacities at the county fair. She was named an honorary 4-H member for her dedication. She and Boyd were also named honorary FFA members by the Erie Future Farmers of America as the first chapter parents to have three children receive the State Farmer Degree. Sh e supported all of her children’s and grandchildren’s various activities. In honor of all of her community service to others, particularly youth, she received the United Methodist Church Torch Award in 2002.
A Republican, she worked for over fifty years on every county election board, starting with President Roosevelt and continuing through President Clinton.
She was known for her meticulous handwork as a weaver, quilter, and seamstress. She consistently received first place at the county fair for her entries, particularly with her rag rugs. As a quilter, she was a member of the Barney and Helping Hands Quilting Clubs.
Her skills in the kitchen produced the best bread and cinnamon rolls and her family’s favorite meal of meatballs with mashed potatoes. She enjoyed fishing at the pond on her farm and always raised a huge garden for fresh and canned vegetables and fruits.
In her later years, she traveled to 47 states, five Canadian provinces, and Mexico.
Hilma was proud of her Swedish heritage. She lived her life in the traditional fashion, always working and never sitting idle. She was a perfectionist in all of her endeavors. She passed her strong work ethic and expectation of excellence to her children and grandchildren.
She is also survived by seventeen grandchildren, thirty great-grandchildren, two great-great granddaughters, two step-grandchildren, several step great-grandchildren, and a sister. Preceding her in death were her husband, four sons, one son-in-law, one great-grandson, two sisters and two brothers.
Services will be at 10 a.m., Thursday, May 27, at the Erie Federated Church with burial to follow at the Elmwood Cemetery in Chanute. The family will receive friends at the church one hour before the service. Friends may call at the funeral home today from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.
Memorials are suggested to the Erie Federated Church Elevator Fund, and these may be left at the church or the Pierce-Carson-Wall Funeral Home, 303 N Grant, Erie, 66733.
Condolences may be sent to www.wallfuneralservices.com.