Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes

1730 East Grand River Ave, East Lansing, MI


Erna Louise Hassell

December 11, 1916July 6, 2020

Erna L. (McKenzie) Hassell, 103, passed on to Heaven from natural causes, on July 6, 2020 at Bahia Personal Care Home in Houston, Texas. Born at home in Lansing, Michigan to Robert and Erna McKenzie, Erna was a woman of many accomplishments. After graduating from Eastern High School, Erna majored in Art with a minor in Apparel and Textile Design, earning a BA at Michigan State College in 1938. For twenty-eight years she taught mainly art but also some sewing, history and English at Saginaw, Lansing and Okemos school districts, retiring in 1978.

Erna raised three children while working full time and participating in various church and school related activities. Erna was past president of the Okemos Women’s Club, the Lansing Chapter of American Association of University Women, and the Episcopal Church Women of St. Paul’s Church in Lansing, and she was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma Sorority, MSU Art Fraternity, Michigan Amateur Radio Women’s Club, and Clark Lake Sailing Club. Erna also taught Sunday school at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

After retiring, she decided to take some art classes, joined a local artist’s group and began painting again. In 2002, Erna moved with Ben, her husband of 61 years, to Houston, Texas to be closer to their beloved grandchildren. Her sociable, friendly nature helped her make many new friends. Erna kept up with current affairs and loved Bible study discussions at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in League City. Always stylishly dressed, her loving smile, giving spirit, faith in God, and love of family were some of Erna’s best qualities. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends.

Erna was preceded in death by her husband, Benjamin, her son, David, and her sister, Virginia Stage. She is survived by her loving daughters, Erna C. Dykes (Richard) of Jacksonville, Florida, and Patricia Ehman (Tom) of Houston, Texas; three grandchildren, Carolyn Ehman, Jonathan Ehman (Morgan) and Susan VanDusen (Will); and six great-grandchildren.

Friends are cordially invited to the visitation with the family on Friday, August 7, 10-12 pm, Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes, 1730 East Grand River Ave., East Lansing. Erna will be laid to rest in East Lawn Memory Gardens in Okemos, Michigan following visitation.

Should friends desire, flowers are welcome or memorial contributions may be sent to Share.Americanbible.org or a charity of your choice.

Condolences may be sent to the Hassell family in care of Jeter Memorial Funeral Home at www.jeterfuneralhome.com.


  • Visitation

    Friday, August 7, 2020


Erna Louise Hassell

have a memory or condolence to add?

Manya Constant

August 2, 2020

Dear Tricia and family,
I am thinking of you during this difficult time you are going through. It makes no difference how old the loved person is, it’s always a loss. Your mother lived a long, wonderful and productive life.
My first encounter was almost 50 years ago when our friend Dema Deliyanne recommended you to baby sit, you were the daughter of a beloved teacher and colleague. She couldn’t say enough about Erna and her family.
I have been very careful and not going out except for walks in the neighborhood, so I am not expressing my condolences in person to you and all your family, as I would very much have liked.
My prayers and thoughts will be with you this Friday.

Roberta Tisdale

July 26, 2020

Dear Erna Carin and Trisha,

Knowing your mom was one of my life’s greatest joys. She and I served on St. Paul’s Altar Guild together from around 1992 until your parents moved to Texas. She was a gracious, beautiful, kind, intelligent, and religious role model. I treasure those times.


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