Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Erma and some of her 70 stars on her 70th birthday in 1990

Kathy S. writes to tell us that Erma died on June 1. All of those who got to spend a week with her in the FatQuarters every year feel very lucky to have known her.

We loved to hear her stories about World War II when she was in the Navy.

 There's a transcript of an interview with her about that work

It says she was a cryptanalyst in a naval intelligence unit while serving with the U.S. Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) during World War II.

She's second from left.
Here's a little part of the transcript about the excitement of living in War-time Washington.

EK: I remember three occasions on which I saw Eleanor Roosevelt: one, when she spoke at the high school assembly; another when she parked in her Eleanor-blue coupe down at Union Station. I was meeting somebody, and so was she, and she parked her little car next to mine.
HT: She drove herself?
EK: Yes, all by herself. And the third time was when the king and queen of England came to visit, and there were two cars, open cars. One had the king and Franklin Roosevelt, waving to the crowd. I was standing on the curb, on Massachusetts Avenue, in front of the British Embassy. The same with the queen and Eleanor. Totally—not totally unprotected. I suppose there were Secret Service around. But these two open cars.
I was standing a very short distance away. I was standing on the curb, and they were in the middle of the road. They'd never do that today. But I could see her and the queen, with her regal wave and her hat that went suitably off her face, so she wouldn't be hidden from the crowd. In fact, I have snapshots of that, I think, somewhere.

Erma is famous in Chapel Hill for the many people she has taught to quilt. Here are some other links:


  1. amazing lady..thank you for posting

  2. I just found this blog and the tribute to my friend Erma H. Kirkpatrick. I met her not long after moving to Chapel Hill in the late 1980's. She was was a wonderful quilter, a lover of crazy socks, and had friends around the world. She always called on me to solve her computer problems, so I got to spend some time with her when she needed help. When I moved from CH in 2004 my last night there was spent at her house. I'm so glad I got to know Erma. She was special.