Erwin was born to Hulda Krumbach and Dick Van Essen on May 15, 1937. Erwin has one sister, Delores Arlene Fast and one nephew, Larry Fast, and two nieces, Debora Joy Weber and Tamara Joyce Henderson still living. Erwin grew up on the family farm outside of Parker, South Dakota. Erwin’s present home reflected his farm country heritage. Erwin graduated from Parker High School in 1955 and keeps in touch with those remaining his class of 38. From very early the church became very important in Erwin’s life. It was the Evangelical United Brethren Church of Parker. After high school Erwin attended and graduated from Westmar College with a degree in Elementary Education in 1959. Following graduation from college he became a missionary with the Evangelical United Brethren Conference of South Dakota. And came to be an art teacher at McCurdy School in Espanola, New Mexico. McCurdy was a mission school providing resident education through high school started before statehood. He taught art at McCurdy for thirty-one years. During this time he continued his learning earning Masters in Counseling and Masters in Gerontology, and almost a Masters in Pottery. In 1987 he left McCurdy to attend St. Paul’s School of Theology to earn his Masters of Divinity. Erwin was ordained to ministry in the New Mexico Annual Conference and began his ministry as Associated Minister at First United Methodist Church Roswell, New Mexico in the summer of 1990. Following his time in Roswell he served as pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Iraan, Texas. In 1993 he came to be the first full time chaplain at Landsun Homes in Carlsbad, New Mexico. During this time Erwin served on the worship team for the New Mexico Conference and on the boards of other ministries in the Southwest Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church. Erwin officially retired in 2005, but continued to be in ministry where ever and with whomever he could reach out to. Erwin never lost his eye for beauty in the world and his love for people. Erwin was a life long learner and continued to read to the very end of his life. There is not a room in his home that does not reflect his love for books.
A memorial service will be held at 10 AM, Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at Mt. Sinai United Methodist Church with Dr. Larry Krueger officiating. Condolences may be expressed at dentonwood.com
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