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Erda Lois Labuhn
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Obituary for Erda Lois Labuhn

Erda Lois Labuhn, 103, of Blue Bell, PA, formerly of Iowa and California, died on August 31, 2017 at her home. She was the wife of the late Lawrence Chestnut and also the late Richard Elmer Labuhn. She was born in Creswell, OR on June 22, 1914 to the late Jeptha Lewis Stratford and Flora Stowell (Evans) Stratford. Erda was a graduate of UC Berkeley with a MA in Decorative Arts in 1960. She worked as a Teacher and Museum Curator for San Jose University, Ohio State University, and Diablo Valley Junior College. She was a member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley in Kensington, CA for 63 years. She was a member of the board and organized the Church History Archives. Originally she was a member of the Church of all Peoples in Detroit, MI. She was the #1 member at ACCI, Arts and Crafts Cooperative Inc. on Shattuck in Berkeley, CA in the mid 1950’s and #47 in the Coop Grocery Store in Berkeley. She was a long time member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Erda, “Earth Goddess” from Wagner’s Opera may be one reason she held season tickets to the San Francisco Opera where her husband Dick worked as a Stagehand. Her love of music early on found her playing and teaching piano with a small dance band and singing in the church choir as a second alto. She also played guitar and accordion in her younger days. Erda was an imaginative, gentle and loving wife and parent. She was an avid reader, loved poetry, and it was no surprise that she and her family supported The Unitarian Church by playing parts and dancing in “The Squirrel Hill Theater” there. Erda’s background in Basic Design, weaving, batiking, and arts and crafts lead her to costume design for shows and ultimately writing a complete show for a fundraiser called “The Unicorn Review” which was put to music by other church members and friends. She once was a copywriter for WBIR radio in Knoxville, TN and later won a trip to New York, all expenses paid, as the winning contestant on the TV show “Cinderella Weekend”. This may have started her love of world travel that she was able to do with her husband and daughter’s family. Her daughter was delighted to accompany Erda to Paris for a free week when she won another contest for a local light company. Can you believe it? Erda was a “luck lady” and enjoyed life and leaves us to remember her final words after a full meal, “Is there dessert?”
She is survived by her daughter Fern Lee Roberts-Labuhn, her sons Michael Grant Chestnut and Loren Keith Chestnut, her granddaughter Adre Lee Roberts-Labuhn, her half siblings who have all predeceased her; Winnie, Bertha, Edward, Alta Mae, Walter, Lora Ethel Gertrude (Sukey). A Memorial Service will be held privately. Condolences may be made at

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