Ervin Lewis Billman
September 27, 1930 – December 14, 2017
Lieutenant Colonel, Ervin Lewis Billman, U.S. Retired Army, born on September 27, 1930 in Pierre, South Dakota was called home to the Lord, on December 14, 2017 in San Antonio, Texas at the age of 87. Ervin graduated from Hawthorne High School in 1948 in Hawthorn, Nevada, where he was captain of the football team and Basketball team and valedictorian. In 1952 attended the University of Nevada in Reno, where he received his Bachelor’s and later attended Michigan State University where he received his Master’s in Business. He retired from the U.S. Army after 24 years of service as an aircraft maintenance officer and helicopter pilot. After retirement he took up bee production and honey selling, and restoring and showing antique cars. Ervin was preceded in death by his parents Richard & Vera Billman. Ervin was survived by his beloved wife, of 65 years of marriage, Geneva Billman, his loving children; Diana and Al Poerner, Jeff and Astrid Billman, grandchildren; Nathan and Melissa Poerner, Katrina and Stephen Rodriguez, Matthew Poerner, great grandchild William Poerner and numerous other relatives and friends. A Funeral Service will be held on Friday, January 05, 2018 at 12:00 noon at Bethany United Methodist Church, 4102 Eisenhauer Rd. San Antonio, Texas 78218. Interment to follow at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.
- Visitation Friday, January 5, 2018
- Funeral Service Friday, January 5, 2018
- Committal Service Friday, January 5, 2018
Ervin Lewis Billman
January 1, 2018
My earliest childhood memory(probably between age 2 and 3) was an attempt to go see in the barn baby fox which the older of my two brothers, Clifford Dean, had brought home. When my mother and the younger of my brothers, Ervin, and I approached the barbed-wire gate, Erv ran ahead to open the gate. Somehow, the barbed wire cut him from the corner of his mouth more than an inch into his cheek. Mom used her apron to cover the wound and provide pressure; and we headed for the house. Erv bore the scar for many years.
My next vivid memory was the wind taking the fabric sunhat Mom had sewn for me to wear on our trip from South Dakota to Idaho. The Depression caused our parents to abandon the farm and seek a livelihood elsewhere. I learned from Erv on the occasion of our gathering for our father's funeral hat we were riding in he back of a neighbor's truck with crated turkeys. Dad had gone ahead to choose a location. We had spent the night before our departure as guests in the local jail.
Erv was six years older than I, and Dean, six ;years older than Erv, so I didn't have much playtime with either of them. In Idaho, we tented along the canal bank for a while and then moved into a house a short distance up the road. Erv and Dean attended school, and I remember herding cows with Mom. By the next summer, we had moved into a house in the nearby Hislop orchard. Before long, Dean joined the army and was sent to India, where he worked on tanks and airplanes during WWII. Father had become the foreman of the orchard, but soon after, we moved to Hawthorne, Nevada, where both parents worked in the ammunition depot. I remember yelling myself hoarse at football and basketball games, but I didn't know until reading this obituary that Erv was captain of both teams. Nor did I know that he graduated valedictorian. After WWII ended, Dean came home. He bought a hefty truck, and he and Dad moved two of the rentals Dad had built to Twin Falls (in town); one of the rentals, a duplex, they cut in half.
Erv attended the University of Nevada, Reno. To help pay for college, he joined ROTC; thus, when he finished college, he went into the military as an officer. Also, it was in Reno that Erv met Geneva Marker. Mom and traveled by train to Reno to attend their wedding. I vividly remember their driving off in Erv's two-door car for their honeymoon in San Francisco.
Throughout my preteen and teen years, Erv was my idol. When I was about third-grade, Erv purchased for me a subscription to Children's Adventures magazine (now Highlights), which made a significant difference in my intellectual pursuits. When I was in middle school and Erv visited briefly in Twin Falls, I wore his letter sweater to school. Now that Erv is out-of-body and has escaped cancer, I feel, perhaps, even closer to him.