Lillie Mae Collier Erwin died Wednesday, November 14, 2018, in Little Rock, Arkansas, with all her children present. She was born on March 19, 1924, in Hope, Arkansas, to Jesse Aubrey Collier and Lillie Eudora Henry Collier. On July 1, 1944, Lillie Mae married the man she would love the rest of her life, Paul Stell Erwin.
Mrs. Erwin was preceded in death by her husband, Paul Erwin in 1976; her daughter, Bliss Kay Erwin Woodle in 2012; her grandson, Andrew Brady in 2006; and four siblings: Gladys Stone, Kathleen Deloney, H.H. “Bud” Collier, and Aubrey Collier, Jr.
She is survived by three children and their spouses whom she considered her children: Randy and Vicki Erwin of Little Rock, Paula Erwin and Anthony Brady of Sherwood, and Debbie Erwin and Mike Houx of Albuquerque, NM; sister, Patsy Collier Rhodes of Hope, AR and College Station, TX; 9 grandchildren: Alan Erwin, Paul (Tiffany) Erwin, Ashley (Adam) Chandler, Meredith (Eryn) Remiger, Grant (Julia) Houx, and Chelsea, Chloe, Chance, and Callie Woodle; 13 great-grandchildren, 1 great-great grandchild, and quite a few nieces and nephews who lovingly called her Aunt Mae.
Paul and Lillie Mae lived in Little Rock for most of their marriage but lived in San Antonio, Texas, the last five years of Paul’s life. It was there that their relationship grew spiritually and became most fulfilling. After Paul’s death, Lillie Mae and Bliss moved to Searcy, Arkansas. In Searcy, many deep and enduring friendships were developed as Lillie Mae was involved in both community and church. She worshiped and served at College Street Church of Christ for 40 years. As Mrs. Erwin grew older, she asked her grown children for a gift—to allow her to move to Harding Place to lessen her responsibilities as a homeowner. At Harding Place, she was blessed with love and friendship from residents and staff. In 2016, it became evident that more help was needed, and Lillie Mae moved to The Manor in Little Rock and then as full time care was needed to Colonel Glenn Nursing & Rehab. The Erwin family is grateful to the staff of all three facilities for their provision of positive and tender care.
To her children what Lillie Mae did for a living was not as important as how she lived and who she was. She was a patient, loving wife, mother, relative, and friend. She loved well, always putting the needs of others before her own. She was a true servant—humble, sincere, and available.
Most people who met or knew Mrs. Erwin would first describe her as sweet; sweet she was to the very end. What she possessed in even greater measure was strength; she persevered through many trials and hardships without losing her faith in God or in people.
Lillie Mae left many precious memories. Her delicious sugar cookies were baked with love; they were present at every family gathering and were also delivered to many friends. Most will remember the cookies stacked safely in an empty Pringles can. One of her granddaughters has kept a cherished can of them in her freezer for several years—hanging on to the memory. She also had a greeting card ministry—acknowledging others in their times of celebration and difficulties. She was definitely an encourager. Lillie Mae made every holiday a special event with decorations, gifts, and food including Grannie’s peas, fried cornbread, and Italian Cream Cake.
It is with both sadness and joy that Lillie Mae Erwin’s family releases this beloved Mom, Grams, Aunt Mae into the eternal presence of her Heavenly Father, Savior, and all who have gone before. Her legacy remains as her life was—to simply love God and love others!
Graveside service will be Saturday, November 17, 2:00 p.m. at Rose Hill Cemetery in Hope, Arkansas under the direction of HERNDON-FUQUA FUNERAL HOME of Hope.
Memorials in her name may be given to sparkoflife.org.