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Erma Jane Campopiano


Erma was born on October 11, 1930, at her Grandmother Fredregill’s farmhouse in Des Moines, Iowa. She was named after her father’s cousin Irma. She went to Maple Grove School and Lincoln High School where a friend introduced her to Joseph Nick Campopiano. They loved to dance on weekends and danced to most of the well-known bands of the time. They were married on March 3, 1950, at Fort Des Moines United Methodist Church.


Erma worked at first at a small office in downtown Des Moines as a file clerk, and later, when her children were little, for an insurance company at night. She worked part time at a Ben Franklin, also.


Erma and Joe continued ballroom dancing, square dancing, and in 1959 started camping with a tent attached to the back of the car, graduating to trailers and finally motor homes.


Erma is remembered fondly by her children for doing cartwheels and handstands in her earlier years out on the front lawn. She did exercises in the living room, didn’t like to have any messes left behind, and dusted the coffee table daily. She didn’t particularly like to cook so her fudge never set and while it tasted good, it became known as “spoon fudge” as we always had to eat it with a spoon. She didn’t eat bread or pie crust, and it could only be real butter. We loved her saying we called “mom-ism’s”. Her hobbies included embroidering dish towels and crochet.


Erma passed Tuesday, December 6, 2022. Erma believed she was blessed with a wonderful husband and family. She is preceded in death by her loving husband, Joseph; her parents; sister, Roine and brother-in-law, Donald Blackford; and her brother, Russell T. Gracey.


Erma is survived by her three children: daughter, Sally (Richard) Amundson; son, Brian (Gail) Campopiano; and daughter, Gina Fahrenholz; two granddaughters, Rachel Amundson; Rebecca (Jeffrey) Wilson; and one great-granddaughter, Natalie Wilson; sister-in-law, Ruth Gracey; nephews, Tom (Shirley) Blackford; Jerry (Sandy Harvour) Blackford; and niece, Peggy Gracey; and many other relatives and friends.


A visitation will be held on Friday, December 9th at Sunset Memorial Chapel, 7601 Fleur Drive, Des Moines, Iowa 50321 from 1:00pm-2:00pm with burial to follow at Sunset Memorial Gardens.


Erma and Joe enjoyed visiting the Blank Park Zoo and wish that memorial contributions be made out to the Des Moines Blank Park Zoo*.


*By Mail: Blank Park Zoo

Attn: Donations/In Memory of Erma Campopiano

7401 SW 9th St.

Des Moines, IA 50315-6667


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