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Erma Dorothy Vargas Bettencourt
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Birth: Apr. 30, 1907
Death: Jul. 16, 2005

Ermaline "Erma" Dorothy, was the oldest of eleven children born to Manuel P. and Rosie Vargas. She was born at home in Livermore, California. With so many younger siblings, Erma was called upon to do many chores, both in the home and out on the ranch. All of the Vargas children worked very hard and put in many hours before they went to school each day. She married Walter Bettencourt on February 10, 1926 and they were blessed with four children, Howard, Norman, Shirlee and Pat. Their wedding was "low key" because of the death of Erma's baby sister, Dorinda, in January 1926.

Erma was well known for her cooking, especially her Portuguese beans and was featured in the hometown paper with her recipe in October 1963. She liked to sew, knit and was an active member of many organizations including the Alameda County Cowbells, Druids and the YLI 44 of Livermore. When she was a young mother, and when her children would get injured, she could not stand the sight of blood and would faint, so her sister, Bernice, would have to take the children to the doctor. Erma and her husband, Walter, lived in the Tassajara area for many years raising hay, grain and cattle, as well as custom harvesting. Some of the highlights of her life were a loving marriage of 67 years, her devoted family, and the two trips to the Shrine at Medjugorje in 1998 and 2000. Erma had a devotion to the Blessed Mother and made both trips when she was over 90 years old. Her two daughters took care of her in her last years.

Memories of her after her death, from family members, included these notes:

Aunt Erma is in heaven, speaking softly and laughing with the many family members who have gone before.I loved this woman dearly. She was always there for me. When I was a young girl, I would spend summers in her household. She would always find clothes and boots for me to wear, (the city slicker), to play summer cowgirl riding the range. Aunt Erma cooked delicious meals and did her house chores, never a complaint, and had smiles and kind words for everyone. A gracious generous soul whom I will always feel proud was My Aunt Erma.
Charlene Hollister, Rosalie Glass' Daughter (Rosalie was Erma's sister)

You have no idea just how much Aunt Erma meant to me personally. She was and still is, my favorite aunt. I spent many childhood summer days with her and uncle Walter and was fortunate to be able to spend a few precious days with her during two separate visits in 2003 and February, 2004. During my first visit with Delois and Aunt Bernice in 2003, I will never forget her dropping out of Pat's truck onto her walker and off she went. My last visit in February, 2004, when I brought my mom, Rosalie Glass, was also special because we were able to go to the casino, one of her favorite places. Pat and I had many a laugh listening to those two hash over the past. They took
one whole day to cry together at the passing of their husbands, loved ones (especially Ernest), and laughed together over old memories. It was indeed a precious time I will never forget and I am so happy that I took the time to make the trip. Delois and Bernice joined us for one day and it was fun to see the 3 sisters together. I knew in my heart that would be the last time Rosalie and Erma would see each other and it was.

As I sit here writing, my heart is heavy for my loss of the sweetest,
kindest, loving aunt anyone could ever have. However that is my personal, selfish feeling because at the same time I am also very overjoyed for Aunt Erma who has passed on to her glorious eternal life with the Lord. As my sister Charlene stated in her email, she is indeed speaking with those who passed before her; except I have to disagreed that they are speaking quietly. The Vargas' were far from quiet when they were all visiting together!

Charlotte Glass Fry

Aunt Erma has especially endeared herself to me during these last years. I will never forget her visits to both of my parents when they were in their last days. Aunt Erma came to my mother's side and was very loving. She told her that if she had ever done anything to offend her that she asked for her forgiveness. This impressed me so much. My mother's sister, Anita, told me that this was an old Portuguese tradition. I thought it was so touching and such a nice gesture. When my dad was dying in 1999, Aunt Erma and Shirlee also came to say goodbye and that visit was also something so priceless to me. It was very sad to see her saying goodbye to her little brother.....but they also had a very wonderful time that afternoon. They reminiced and Aunt Erma had us all in near hysterics with her tales from the early days at the ranch. I know she gave my dad a day of much happiness in his last days.

Aunt Erma also called me more than once when she received my annual Christmas card, just to chat, which I loved. She always tried to help me when I called her a few times to ask about old family stories. My last and dearest memory of her was at Aunt Nila's 80th birthday party in November of 2001. We were sitting across the room from one another and before I had a chance to react, when our gazes met....SHE jumped up from her chair and walked quickly across the room to sit by me and chat......her lively cheerful spirit made me feel so good......if any of us inherit that Vargas longevity we can only hope to have half of her energy.

My love and sympathy goes out to all of you who feel her loss. I think now of her life and feel that it would be wonderful to be as blessed as she was.....To be married to a wonderful husband for almost 67 years, to see the events of almost a century.... .to live to see her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to the ages that she saw be cared for in the homes of her two loving the very laugh and enjoy life as Erma the end....and then to be wisked away with a short illness at the age of 98. I do know from personal experience that it is still not easy to let a loved one go, no matter how old they are.......the longer they have been here, the longer they have been in our hearts. I do enjoy the thought of aunt Erma being in the company of all of her loved ones that have gone before her. I remember my mom told me once that Aunt Rosalie told her
"It's getting to be that all the good ones are on the other side." (maybe not the exact words) comforts me to think of someday seeing them all again.
Susan Vargas Murphy (daughter of Erma's brother Ernie)

Family links: 
  Manuel Pereira Vargas (1882 - 1960)
  Rosie A. Vargas (1888 - 1981)
  Walter Donald Bettencourt (1903 - 1993)*
  Norman Walter Bettencourt (1932 - 2013)*
  Erma Dorothy Vargas Bettencourt (1907 - 2005)
  Margaret Winifried Vargas Perry (1908 - 1956)*
  Anna Perry Vargas (1910 - 1920)*
  Rosalie Ethel Vargas Glass (1912 - 2008)*
  Elsie Dolores Vargas Anderson (1914 - 1997)*
  Manuel Vargas (1916 - 1916)*
  Ernest Eugene Vargas (1918 - 1999)*
  Herman Norman Vargas (1920 - 1981)*
  Edward Melvin Vargas (1922 - 1999)*
  Derinda Vivian Vargas (1925 - 1926)*
*Calculated relationship
Rest in peace
Saint Michaels Cemetery
Alameda County
California, USA
Plot: Row 41 East
Maintained by: Susan Vargas Murphy
Originally Created by: countedx58
Record added: Jun 07, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 19763207
Erma Dorothy <i>Vargas</i> Bettencourt
Added by: Susan Vargas Murphy
Erma Dorothy <i>Vargas</i> Bettencourt
Added by: Susan Vargas Murphy
Erma Dorothy <i>Vargas</i> Bettencourt
Added by: countedx58
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