Erma Dinkel

November 17, 1922February 10, 2014
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Mary “Erma” Dinkel November 17, 1922 – February 10, 2014

Carmel Valley - Erma Dinkel, 91, passed peacefully in her sleep February 10, 2014 after a long slow decline with Alzheimer’s disease.

Mrs. Dinkel was born November 17, 1922 in Texarkana, Texas to Preston Morris and Lucilla Bell Singletary.

Three children survive her. Her son John Dinkel and his wife Shari of Carmel Valley with their offspring Erica Mitchell, Ermalyn and John Dinkel, II. Her son Michael Dinkel and his wife Wendy live in Pacific Grove with their daughter Ashley. She also has a daughter Patsy Machado of Central Point, Oregon with one son, Christopher Machado of Santa Rosa, California.

Erma was preceded in death by Peter Michael Dinkel, her husband of 35 years. Pete was a former Pacific Grove city councilman and past President of the Monterey Peninsula Board of Realtors.

Erma moved away from Texarkana, Texas directly after high school graduation. She came to California to live with relatives in Mountain View and held varied jobs, but most distinguished, as a Civil Navy Employee stationed at Moffett Federal Air Field, South San Francisco as one of the first and best lady welders building blimps.

She met her husband Pete in Mountain View when she first moved here and was working as a waitress. They moved to Pacific Grove shortly after their marriage where they owned and ran their own butcher shop for a time in the 10th street business district in Monterey where Erma became one of the first lady butchers. Being left handed learning the butcher trade was challenging and humorous for Erma!

In their next venture Pete convinced her to sell her car for the deposit on their first house and then upgraded her to a better model once the house sold… and so began their Real Estate career as P.M. Dinkel Real Estate located in downtown PG for many years.

After several years of successful business, Erma had saved up enough to buy a home for her parents and move them from Texarkana, Texas to Bakersfield, California where they lived happily retired for the remainder of their days.

Erma was a devoted mother and immersed herself in the community of Pacific Grove. She became heavily involved in the Pacific Grove School Board PTA and earned the California Congress of PTA Honorary Service Award. She also earned the distinction of being the 1st PG Pride Sweetheart in recognition of service to school and community.

Erma was a den mother and Weeblo leader for her sons involved in the Boy Scouts of America. She slipped under the radar and became the first female Scout Master for their troop when there were no fathers available to take the position.

During the 1990’s her civic and political career was astounding to say the least. She was Pacific Grove Elected President of the Chamber of Commerce 1995-1996, Woman of the Year Presented by the PG Business and Professional Women, earned the James R. Hughes Citizen of the year, Woman of Distinction by Soroptimist International of the Monterey Peninsula, St. Angela’s Catholic Daughters, Environmental Professional Volunteer Award for continuous involvement and dedication to civic affairs, clubs and organizations, President of the Pacific Grove Architectural Review Board, President of the Pacific Grove Planning Commission, Pacific Grove Councilwoman, President of the Chautauqua Hall Preservation Society, Treasurer and Ambassador of the PG Chamber of Commerce, Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce Chairperson, Chairperson of the Economic Enhancement Committee, Vice President of the Feast of Lanterns Committee as well as multiple years volunteering, Charter Member of the Monterey Bay Aquarium for many years as well as a volunteer at the information desk, President of the Pacific Grove Lighthouse Keepers, member of the Orchid Society, , PG Art Center Board of Directors, many Pacific Grove city level committees including the formation and establishment of the Elmarie H. Dyke Open Space Project and Treasurer and board member of the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History.

In her spare time her favorite pastimes would be traveling over 36 countries and traveling in her R.V. back in the day with the California Highway Patrol 1010 club and the distinction of being “Coffee Wagon, Queen of the Coffee Bean” 5 years in a row.

Erma had a wonderful sense of humor and enjoyed life to the very end. Mention her state of Texas any time and she’d let out a rebel yell, “Yee Haww”. She always had a big smile and enjoyment of life every day and it can truly be said she “never met a stranger”.

The rosary will be recited at Paul Mortuary in Pacific Grove at 7pm Tuesday February 18th, visitation will begin at 4:30pm. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at St. Angela’s Catholic Church in Pacific Grove at 11am on Wednesday February 19th with entombment in El Carmelo Cemetery next to her husband following the services.

We would especially like to thank all the staff at the VNA Adult Day Care Center located at 800 Cass St. in Monterey and the staff at Carmel Villa in Carmel Valley for their exceptional care and compassion with mom. We were blessed to find these establishments and would highly recommend them for the personal care you may need with your loved one… they’re not a business, they’re family. In lieu of flowers, please consider giving to the above two mentioned institutions or the Alzheimer’s Association of Monterey County in Erma Dinkel’s name.

Arrangements under the direction of The Paul Mortuary, Pacific Grove, CA.


  • Visitation Tuesday, February 18, 2014
  • Rosary Tuesday, February 18, 2014
  • Mass of Christian Burial Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Erma Dinkel

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Mary "Harris" Kuhlman

February 17, 2014

I write this not only to express my condolences but also on behalf of my parents, Tommie (who passed away in 1998), and Ingeborg Harris of Pacific Grove, and Linda "Harris" Bourbon of Fresno. Our family had the pleasure of knowing Erma for many, many years. Mom was active in PGUSD for 20+ years and knew Erma through the PTA and they became good friends. Our family was also a part of the California Highway Patrol 1010 RV Travel Club and we all have fond memories of fun camping trips with the bubbly Erma and her coffee wagon. My dad was also from Texas and he and Erma were cut from the same cloth; they'd tell you like it is but give you the shirt off their back. My best memory of Erma was after my dad passed away. Mom missed traveling with the camping club so Erma (bless her heart), invited Mom on several camping trips so Mom could see and visit old friends and enjoy a few more miles "on the road again" with her old friend Erma. Erma was the only woman in the club to drive her own rig. She was a pioneer, a trailblazer, and someone you could count on to step up and get the job done, no matter what that job was. She was such a big supporter of anything Pacific Grove related and for those of us that call PG home, we have her to thank for her countless hours of volunteer work and support of so many organizations and affiliations. I speak for my whole family when I say that a very special lady has now become an angel and I'm certain Erma and my dad are up in heaven talkin' about camping and Texas, "Yee Haww!!"

Jane Haines

February 16, 2014

Irma Dinkel was a strong positive force in Pacific Grove. I had read about her many contributions to our city before I met her, but I first met her in person when I had her son John in my class at P.G. Middle School. Irma took the initiative in trying to find out how she could help the school better educate ALL the students. And she did a lot more than that. She organized civic programs, helped get Chataugua Hall funded and viable, competently headed civic service committees, and overall made Pacific Grove a much better community. What a lady! And that's what she was -- a lady through and through. P.G. owes a lot to Irma Dinkel!

February 15, 2014

Patsy and family, I'm so sorry for your loss, Erma and Pete were great people...they were so nice to me....great memories growing up with you guys...thoughts and prayers be with you.

Darian and Linda Houde
Pacific Grove, Ca.

Ellen StClair

February 14, 2014

Aunt Erma was a woman I admired and loved my whole life. She was always kind and loving to me and my sister, Barbara, and we enjoyed getting together with her when we could. Uncle Pete and Aunt Erma will always have special memories for us.