KAHLER, ERIKA -- LOUDONVILLE
Erika Kahler of Loudonville entered into well-deserved eternal rest on September 18, 2021 at age 93. She lived an extraordinary life and leaves behind a family that loved her beyond measure. Survivors include her children, Wilma (Ralph) Wells, Ralph (Suzanne) Kahler, Annette (Eric) Peter, and Martin Kahler. She was a loving and proud Oma to her grandchildren Ingrid Wells (Dan Valenza), Erik (Elizabeth) Wells, and Kiersten Wells, and it was a bonus in recent years when she gained two step-grandchildren, Tyler and Marléna Peter. In the last year of her life, she was blessed with the arrival of her first great-grandchild, Theodore Ray Wells, which brought her tremendous joy. Erika was predeceased in 2015 by her husband of 58 years, Hermann Kahler.
Erika Margarete Maria Brüssow was the eldest daughter of Bruno and Emma Brüssow, born in 1928 in Wildenbruch, Germany in the region of Pomerania near the Baltic Sea. She loved her home in Wildenbruch and throughout her life spoke of it often. She recalled the idyllic beauty of the landscape and memories of her parents singing while they worked in the fields. She grew up with her sisters, Hilde and Ingrid, and her best friend, Charlotte, who lived next door. Together, they happily learned to knit potholders, played games, went swimming, picked flowers, attended church, and said their prayers. Studious by nature, Erika loved to read and learn, and aspired herself to be a teacher someday. Life changed dramatically in January 1945, during World War II, when Wildenbruch was invaded by Russian soldiers in tanks, on their way to Berlin, who advanced stealthily through the fields and directly to their doorstep. At age 17, Erika was taken as a Russian prisoner and the next two years were spent under harsh conditions in a Russian prison camp. Miraculously, she survived.
Following the war and a brief period living in West Germany, Erika moved to England where she became a lady-in-waiting to a baroness in London. Later, she worked at St. Peter’s Hospital and enjoyed the companionship of many international friends. She joined the throngs of people on June 2, 1953 in Trafalgar Square celebrating the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, a highlight of her time in London.
Soon thereafter, with the help of a friend, Erika obtained a sponsorship to come to the United States. A grand adventure lay before her as she departed Southampton, England for New York in December 1954, traveling by ship across the Atlantic Ocean on the Cunard Queen Elizabeth. After living and working in Hoboken, New Jersey, the next chapter in Erika’s life would unfold when she met her future husband Hermann at a German festival in New York City. They were married six months later.
Following their marriage in 1956, Erika and Hermann moved to Albany and started their family, eventually settling with their four children on Boltwood Avenue in Castleton where they would live for nearly 50 years.
Erika was a talented and gifted woman. Sewing was both a passion and a vocation. Her baking skills were legendary, making her a popular coffee hour hostess at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, where she was known for her German apfelkuchen. She had a love for music, played harmonica, and was a lifelong fan of Lawrence Welk. Her hands were never idle. A knitting or crocheting project was always in progress, and she leaves behind an impressive collection of handmade doilies to prove it. She was a voracious reader and a lover of literature and German poetry, which she could recite from memory until her last days. She was a woman of great faith who knew that God held her in His hands. Above all, she was our beloved Mom and our cherished Oma. We will miss her more than any words can express, and we will carry her memory in our hearts forever.
Our family wishes to thank the caregivers and medical professionals who assisted us in taking care of our Mom in recent months. You know who you are. Your loving kindness and compassion can never be repaid.
Calling hours will be at Castleton Funeral Home from 4:00-6:00 PM on Friday, September 24th. A service celebrating Erika’s life will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, September 25th at St Matthew & St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 1500 Western Ave., Albany (please note the new church location). Interment will be at Horizon View Cemetery, Castleton. Memorial donations may be made to St. Matthew & St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.
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