Erma Wilson McMillan, 104, Carthage

CARTHAGE, NY —  Erma Wilson McMillan, a resident of Carthage Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, died October 18. She was 104.

Erma, the oldest of five children, was born in Asbestos, Quebec, on Sept. 14, 1916, to Frank and Hilda Wilson. Her father took Erma and her mother home in a side car attached to his motorcycle, a story she loved to tell. The family immigrated to northern NY when Erma was a child. She attended a one-room school in Canton, NY, where she was responsible for starting the fire in the wood stove on cold days. She graduated from Canton High School and Ogdensburg Business School. Upon completion she worked for the Ogdensburg Machine Co. for two years until her marriage.

She married Thomas F. McMillan on Nov. 4, 1939. Thomas died in August 1980.  They had two children, Dr. Harry McMillan (Harriet), Watertown, and Ann Parkman (Jeff), Williamstown, MA.

In the 1960s she returned to her work as a bookkeeper at her favorite place to shop, Empsalls’ Department Store.

Erma had an exceptional memory, and loved to share her memories of growing up on the family farm outside Ogdensburg. She and her siblings showed their award winning Jersey cattle at area fairs and the NY State Fair. During the depression they all worked to raise chickens and make butter to sell in Ogdensburg. She was always ready to “visit” no matter where she was, and was detail oriented. Harry used to tell her she was the first computer. She was always amazed at how the world had changed over her 104 years. Erma attributed her longevity to the tea and toast she loved so much.

She and her sisters used to love to go antiquing all over northern NY. She was very knowledgeable about antiques. She was a homemaker: sewing, knitting, crocheting countless gifts, gardening (both flowers and vegetables,) and keeping house. And for a few years she had the care of her in-laws until they died. She always loved to go to the woods with her family and pick blackberries.

Survivors include her children, four grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews who were as close to her as her own children.

She was predeceased by her four siblings, Inda Armstrong, Eva Duvall, Verna Hutchinson, and Frank C. Wilson.

Services will be at the convenience of the family and burial will be in Hillcrest Cemetery, Heuvelton, NY.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Erma’s name may be made to the Heuvelton 1st Presbyterian Church, 63 Lisbon St., Heuvelton, NY 13654.

Arrangements are entrusted with Cummings Funeral Service, Inc., Watertown.

online concolences to her family may be made at