Lenette “Hermine” Foil Erwin
Published 6:08 pm Wednesday, January 24, 2024
Our family lost our beloved mother and grandmother on November 7th, 2023 – Election Day. It was quite fitting to be that day because she was such a proud American and showed it in her character, style, and decor.
Lenette “Hermine” Foil Erwin was born on July 10, 1935, in Bogalusa, Louisiana, to Lee Ethel Bateman and Herman John Foil. A second daughter for them, as sister Hope, was born 3 years earlier. She and her mother survived a very difficult birth, being the second successful Cesarean birth in Washington Parish. As a result, she was a very sickly child who had many diseases growing up; yet had a strong spirit, surviving to age 88.
Hermine had a wonderful childhood growing up in Bogalusa and was the apple of her daddy’s eye. Her father was an Irish politician, salesman, mayor, and loving father who never met a stranger. Some days, her daddy would say to her, “Let’s go politicking!” She loved being with him on these visits.
In her early years, her family lived on a lake surrounded by cousins, the Batemans, whom she just adored. The lake was a fun place to explore and play for them all. The family lived on the lake until she and her sister Hope went into high school. They moved to town to be closer to the school.
When she was growing up, everyone called her “Sis,” and the endearing name stuck for life. She grew up listening to the music of the times, including legends like Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, finding an appreciation for music and the arts that carried into painting, collecting miniatures, and any type of craft project.
Hermine had a wonderful time in high school and won many elections, including the “Sweetheart of B.H.S.” and pep squad leader. Upon graduation, she attended Stephen’s College, a prestigious women’s college in Columbia, Missouri. While attending Stephens, Hermine took a trip to New York City with her friends. They were asked to model clothing at a luncheon and then toured the city in dresses and high heel shoes! At that time, NYC had coin-operated foot massagers on the street and needless to say, they were frequently used.
After 2 ½ years at Stephens, she transferred to LSU and majored in Home Economics. She joined a sorority, Kappa Delta, and enjoyed her college years going to parties, meeting lifelong friends, and attending LSU Tiger football games, of course.
Upon graduating, Hermine took a job in New Orleans with the New Orleans Public Service as a Home Service Advisor. She helped customers with food-related questions and provided recipes, some of which she used for live cooking demonstrations.
At the request of mutual friends, Hermine took a leap of faith and went on a blind date with a “handsome geologist” named Eugene “Gene” Erwin. Hermine and Gene married on January 30, 1960, in her hometown of Bogalusa. Their only daughter, Lynn, was born later that year in November in New Orleans.
After a brief stay in Fort Worth, the Erwin family moved to Midland, TX, where they lived for 38 years. Hermine thoroughly enjoyed living in Midland and stayed active in the community. She was a great wife and mother. She helped Lynn learn to cook, sewed clothes for her and was her Girl Scout troop Leader. She was also involved with the Midland Lutheran Church, hosted Bible studies at her home, stayed connected with her Kappa Delta alumni group, and participated in the GeoWives organization, making lifelong friends along the way with her upbeat personality and her love of entertaining. Midland, being an oilfield town, was an assembly of many families from all over the United States. Many of those families became “family” throughout the years celebrating holidays and milestones together.
When Gene retired in 2002, the couple moved to Bakersfield, CA, to be closer to their daughter, Lynn; her husband, Brad; and grandson, Cameron. “Silly Mimi,” as she would come to be known, became close friends with her neighbors in Bakersfield and spent holidays, birthdays, and football Sundays cheering on the Cowboys with her family. Hermine had a passion for Christmas and always made it warm and cozy for the family with great food, fun surprises, and sweet desserts. In addition, she was known within the family for bringing neglected plants back to life and producing some of the largest blooms ever seen.
In November 2007, Gene passed away suddenly. After a period of mourning, Hermine stayed in her Bakersfield home and found ways to be social, creating a “Lunch Bunch” group within her retirement community. Hermine continued to celebrate birthdays, holidays, and football Sundays but also traveled with the family to Morro Bay, CA, and embarked on a family Alaskan cruise.
In the fall of 2019, Hermine took her fun, creative spirit to The Palms Assisted Living in Bakersfield. When the COVID pandemic hit, she was under lockdown but still found ways to remain engaged by making miniature houses for family, friends, and staff.
Lynn and Brad decided to move out of California to Reno, NV, in late 2020. In January of 2021, Lynn and Hermine took a road trip, and she became a resident of Clearwater at Rancharrah Assisted Living in Reno. While in Reno, her production of miniature houses ramped up, and many were given to family and staff members. If you were a recipient of one of her one-of-a-kind creations, you held a special place in her heart. Family continued to be present for Hermine as grandchildren and great-grandchildren came to spend time with “Silly Mimi.”
Hermine is preceded in death by her husband, Gene; her parents, Herman and Lee Ethel; and her sister, Hope. She is survived by her daughter, Lynn Califf; son-in-law, Brad; grandson, Cameron; step-grandson, Chris and his wife, Val and daughter, Millie; step-grandson Kyle and his wife, Brittany and sons, Jackson and Calvin.
Family was everything to Hermine, and there will be a graveside ceremony and burial for both Hermine and Gene in the spring of 2024 in Bogalusa, LA, at the Foil family plot. Hermine loved and supported causes for children, animals, community arts, and U.S. veterans. Please feel free to donate to your charity of choice.