"Thank you to those who helped me through my tough times, for your compassion and companionship."
Love Always and Forever, Erika
Biography of Erika Lina Erler - Talaska
Written by Eric in July, 2009
     Erika was born in Schmolln, Germany in 1939. Her father, Rudolf Erler, was forced to go to war in the Western Front of WWII when she was only four years old and she never heard from him since. Rudolf owned his own bicycle and sewing machine shop. In 1953 at age 14, Erika participated in the workers uprising. She and other students went to school, tore up East German and Russian flags and posters. The protests were the largest in East Germany since the 1989 uprising. Erika became an excellent swimmer and a life guard, winning a few medals. Erika did well in school and was accepted into college, but turned it down because she said everybody gets paid the same no matter what.
"Ask and you shall receive." 
"We get too soon old and too late smart."
     Erika escaped East Germany in 1954 at age 15 by train and moved to West Germany where she worked as a homemaker. At age 18, she got a job as a bookkeeper at a U.S. Air Force Base where she met Leo Talaska and married him in Germany.
     Erika moved to Toledo Ohio with her husband and had four children. One child, Johnny, died of health complications at age five and grief over him always prevailed. Erika obtained U.S. citizenship in 1973. While in Ohio, she enjoyed raising a family, visiting friends, craft making and bowling.
     In 1977, Erika and her family moved to Texarkana, Texas because Leo got a job transfer there. The climate and allergies of the area were progressively detrimental to her health. She worked as a seamstress in a dry cleaner for many years and had a few other jobs. In 1986, she moved to Millwood Lake near Ashdown, Arkansas where she was a volunteer officer for her local fire department ladies' auxiliary for ten years. In May, 2000, not knowing much about computers, Erika purchased LetsCook.com for about $10 and soon after sold it a year later for $800.
     Erika, a sentimentalist, enjoyed her family and friends, her dogs, the joys and beauties of the outdoors, gardening, cooking, and decorating, especially for the holidays. She could play the accordion. Erika attended Catholic church regularly. She always made sure she humbly helped a disadvantaged family in need. She adored her grandchildren and hoped they will have a good life.
     In 2009, Erika and Leo celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary that she worked hard to prepare for. A few days later, Erika passed away. She had endured frequent intensive medical care for 30 years from mostly respiratory illnesses largely as a result of environmental factors, during which there were many very! scary and close calls.
     Erika wishes our future generations prevailing love and peace, to take care of themselves and earth and to honor nature's gifts.
​ 
What Erika was Most Proud of
Keyton and EricGerman heritageHelping others in need; volunteering?
50 year wedding anniversaryCooking for othersSewing; dressing upHome decor; gardening
Erika's Family
     Erika proudly made a great effort helping her great grandchildren and treasured them more than anything. She had the wisdom and understanding of knowing they are her future. She loved them more than anything. You can tell because she looks happiest in these pictures. She proudly displayed photos of her great  grandchildren all over the house in almost every room. She nurtured them in the following and many more ways: Took photos throughout the years and spent a lot of time making their personalized photo albums, coordinated days to take care of them and went to visit, bought clothes, school supplies and tons of Christmas and birthday gifts for, gave advice, prayed for, cooked for, made custom clothing and other handmade things for, took for rides in cars and golf cart, played with, handed down prized heirlooms to (past & future), etc.
Erika with Keyton "Kiwi"
keyton Crow & Grandma Erika Lina Erler - Talaska
keyton Crow & Grandma Erika Lina Erler - Talaska
Keyton Crow Family Drawing for Grandma & Grandpa Talaska
Erika promptly took Keyton to the hospital ER and had x-rays taken when he swallowed a nickel. She also proudly displayed a custom painted license plate on the front of her car that said "Kiwi 8".
keyton Crow Drawing for Grandma Erika Lina Erler - Talaska
     Erika proudly made a great effort trying to help. She proudly displayed photos all over the house in almost every room. She took photos throughout the years and spent a lot of time making their personalized photo albums, coordinated days to take care of, went to visit many! times in Fouke to bring clothes, gifts and money to, gave advice, prayed for, cooked for, made custom clothing and other handmade things for, took for rides in cars and golf cart, took swimming and fishing, loaned money to, handed down prized heirlooms to, etc.

Erika with her Favorite Child, Eric
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Hot Springs, Arkansas mountain tower pavilion
Extra Things Erika did for Eric
Defended in every way; bragged aboutPartial college tuition; German homework helpEncouraged success; bought books forPhone and conversation moral supportGave select heirlooms to; attempted to prevent disadvantage in Will and TrustSpecial care for Tippy while on two car vacationsVisitation room / guest house as neededBought motorcycles, computer (1986), etc. forSewing repairs and custom work
Extra Things Eric did for Erika
Extensive and intense nursing, equipment cleaning and maintenance, medical research and adviceSit and talk with; moral support; encouragementDrove to parks, assisted mobility (final years)Created her autobiography video (in 2008), this website and digitally repaired her photosCreated her obituary and arranged most of her funeral as great as possible
Erika's Friends from Texarkana in Need She Often Humbly Helped Long Term
In each case, there was a single indigent mother with a handicapped granddaughter or daughter, all of whom Erika helped.
Eric speculates Erika was greatly influenced by her son Johnny to help others in similar situations.
The Swiss Colony Store Employees in Uniform 1980's
The Swiss Colony became well known for establishing a nationwide network of retail stores located in shopping malls throughout the United States, growing to more than 225 locations. The company made a strategic decision to end these operations in the early 1980s in order to refocus on catalog operations. This was due to an economic downturn and resulting high costs of rental space in suitable shopping centers. The company does continue to maintain outlet store facilities in Monroe, Wisconsin and Davenport, Iowa. History page
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Her daughter, Charlene (1950 - 1982), was the mother of Diane.
Diane had kidney problems and lived from 1973 to 1988.
Catherine lived from 1922 to 1995.
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Erika's Many Other Friends
Erika's Main Friends; Approx. Years
"d." indicates survived by Erika
Gabi (Germany and USA)Rosie Jenkins (Ohio) 1973 - 2000 d.Mary Crawfis (Ohio) 1973 - 1978 d.?Phyllis Wolford (Ohio) 1973 - 1978Marianna Andersen (German in Tx.) 1979 - 1985 d.Ann Wilburn (Texas) 1979 - 1983 falling outMaryhelen McConnel (Texas) 1980 - 2005Becky Rafaelli (Texas) 1980 - 1987) d.Catherine 1980 - d. 1995 & Dianne d.1988 Baumel (Texas) Provided assistance for both - disabled
Shelly and Joe Bowley (Arkansas) 1987 - 1995Leah Allen (Arkansas) 1987 - 1995Fran and Joe Stevens (Arkansas) 1995 - 2007 d.Verna Hill (Arkansas) 1988 - 2008 falling out?Enormous phone gossipKarla Green (German in Ark.) 2004 - 2008 d.Margarete Latner & Sandy (Ark.) 2005 - 2009Provided assistance for both - disabled
Erika with Eric's Dog Tippy, Chihuahua Rudy of 18 years & other Pets
Pooch, Blue Heeler Breed, Erika Lina Erler - Talaska, 1980's
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Erika with Animals

Erika Talaska riding horse in Bridgeport, Texas, 1982
Erika Erler's Sewing & Alterations
She Creatively Made Shirts, Costumes, Dolls, etc. from Scratch
Decorations & Painting
Nature & Gardening
Fishing & Water Recreation
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Sports & Recreation
Accordion
Awards, Memberships & Achievements
Work History
Maid / Nanny - West GermanyCommissary Cashier - West Germany US Air Force BasePoteet's General Store - Cashier, etc. - Texarkana, TexasSkaggs Alpha Beta / Albertsons - Meat Department - Texarkana, TexasHoliday Cleaners - Seamstress - Texarkana, TexasSelf Employed Seamstress - Ashdown, ArkansasYarborough Fire Department - Volunteer Treasurer - Ashdown, Arkansas
Other
Mom (cook, clean, laundry, errands, etc.)Assist disabled people
Entertainment
     In Erika's middle ages her primary entertainment was soap operas. She played Tetris so much in the 1990's, the control pad was worn down. She didn't play games anymore during her last few years and increased TV instead.
Erika watched a lot of TV, especially as she got older. Her son Eric tried to get her to watch less, especially less of the depressing shows such as those on Lifetime Movie Network, but she insisted it was necessary for her to cope with her loneliness. She said every since she became disabled, her friends came by much less frequently and TV was a way to cope.  Her favorite shows other than Lifetime were Wheel of Fortune, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Dr. Phil, Judge Judy, etc. Sometimes she would watch cheerful funny animal, etc. programs.
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Erika's Favorite Song: Fastball - The Way - Lyrics
They made up their minds
And they started packing
They left before the sun came up that day
An exit to eternal summer slacking
But where were they going Without ever knowing the way?
They drank up the wine
And they got to talking
They now had more important things to say
And when the car broke down They started walking
Where were they going without ever knowing the way?
CHORUS:
Anyone could see The road that they walk on is paved in gold
And It's always summer, they'll never get cold
They'll Never get hungry
They'll never get old and gray
You can see their shadows Wandering off somewhere
They won't make it home
But they really don't care
They wanted the highway
They're happier there today , today
The children woke up
And they couldn't find 'em
They Left before the sun came up that day
They just drove off
And left it all behind 'em
     This song is based on the true story of Lela and Raymond Howard, an elderly couple from Salado, Texas who drove to a nearby family reunion and kept going. She had Alzheimer's disease and he was recovering from brain surgery. When they disappeared, a reporter from the Austin American-Statesman wrote a series of articles about the missing couple.
     Fastball bassist Tony Scalzo came up with the idea for the song after reading the articles (the band is from Austin). He says, "It's a romanticized take on what happened" - he "pictured them taking off to have fun, like they did when they first met." However, he found out after writing the song that the couple had died. They were found at the bottom of a canyon in Arkansas about a 3-day drive from their destination.
Erika's Favorite Movie: Doctor Zhivago (1965) winner of six academy awards
Vehicles from 1964 GM-Oldsmobile to 2007 Nissan
Helped many disabled people with many things such as running errands and emotional support. Served as Treasurer and Vice President of her local fire department. Totally quit smoking after more than 30 years around 2000 even though discouraged her spouse refused to quit dipping. Successfully defected from former communist East Germany when the Berlin Wall was heavily guarded and enforced.
Childhood
In Appreciation for Erika's Contributions to her Family & Others
For her family, Erika worked AND served as a maid, etc.:
Things Erika liked:
Making and doing things for othersCooking and German foodHoliday decorationsCoffeeTV, Katie CouricGarage salesShoes / fashion
Things Erika didn't like:
Being ignoredGray hairSewing machine failuresScience fictionInterior lights on (not sure is solely due to electric bill)Dirty kitchen floor
Other Documents
Website design by her son Eric since 2000, particularly on Mother's Day, 2014 with many major sophisticated digital photo repairs. Those who complain instead of collaborate are omitted.
     Erika escaped East Germany in 1954 at age 15 by train and moved to West Germany where she worked as a homemaker. At age 18, she got a job as a bookkeeper at a U.S. Air Force Base where she met Leo Talaska and married him in Germany.
     Erika moved to Toledo Ohio with her husband and had four children. One child, Johnny, died of health complications at age five and grief over him always prevailed. Erika obtained U.S. citizenship in 1973. While in Ohio, she enjoyed raising a family, visiting friends, craft making and bowling.
     In 1977, Erika and her family moved to Texarkana, Texas because Leo got a job transfer there. The climate and allergies of the area were progressively detrimental to her health. She worked as a seamstress in a dry cleaner for many years and had a few other jobs. In 1986, she moved to Millwood Lake near Ashdown, Arkansas where she was a volunteer officer for her local fire department ladies' auxiliary for ten years. In May, 2000, not knowing much about computers, Erika purchased LetsCook.com for about $10 and soon after sold it a year later for $800.
     Erika, a sentimentalist, enjoyed her family and friends, her dogs, the joys and beauties of the outdoors, gardening, cooking, and decorating, especially for the holidays. She could play the accordion. Erika attended Catholic church regularly. She always made sure she humbly helped a disadvantaged family in need. She adored her grandchildren and hoped they will have a good life.
     In 2009, Erika and Leo celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary that she worked hard to prepare for. A few days later, Erika passed away. She had endured frequent intensive medical care for 30 years from mostly respiratory illnesses largely as a result of environmental factors, during which there were many very! scary and close calls.
Keyton and EricGerman heritageHelping others in need; volunteering?
     Erika escaped East Germany in 1954 at age 15 by train and moved to West Germany where she worked as a homemaker. At age 18, she got a job as a bookkeeper at a U.S. Air Force Base where she met Leo Talaska and married him in Germany.
     Erika moved to Toledo Ohio with her husband and had four children. One child, Johnny, died of health complications at age five and grief over him always prevailed. Erika obtained U.S. citizenship in 1973. While in Ohio, she enjoyed raising a family, visiting friends, craft making and bowling.
     In 1977, Erika and her family moved to Texarkana, Texas because Leo got a job transfer there. The climate and allergies of the area were progressively detrimental to her health. She worked as a seamstress in a dry cleaner for many years and had a few other jobs. In 1986, she moved to Millwood Lake near Ashdown, Arkansas where she was a volunteer officer for her local fire department ladies' auxiliary for ten years. In May, 2000, not knowing much about computers, Erika purchased LetsCook.com for about $10 and soon after sold it a year later for $800.
     Erika, a sentimentalist, enjoyed her family and friends, her dogs, the joys and beauties of the outdoors, gardening, cooking, and decorating, especially for the holidays. She could play the accordion. Erika attended Catholic church regularly. She always made sure she humbly helped a disadvantaged family in need. She adored her grandchildren and hoped they will have a good life.
     In 2009, Erika and Leo celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary that she worked hard to prepare for. A few days later, Erika passed away. She had endured frequent intensive medical care for 30 years from mostly respiratory illnesses largely as a result of environmental factors, during which there were many very! scary and close calls.

Macramé

Erika Lina Erler-Talaska, Winter Park, Colorado Sweater - Eric Talaska's Mother; Photo Edited by Eric Talaska
Erika Lina Erler-Talaska, Photoshopped by Eric Talaska
"Live, Love, Laugh"
"Ask and you shall receive"
"There's a lid for every pot."
"All you need is one good friend."
"You get out of a relationship what you put into it."
"Oofal, awful, eeful"
This page will be repaired, check back...

In Loving and Honorable Memory of
Erika Lina Erler - Talaska
Born Nov. 18, 1939
Schmolln
, Altenburger Land, Thuringia, Germany
Rested June 2, 2009
Ashdown, Arkansas
at Age 69