Erna Henriette Ziegenbalg, 96, of Lakewood, Colorado, entered Heaven November 25, 2014, at home in the arms of loved ones. Erna was born July 7, 1918, in Ward County, North Dakota, near Minot to Herman and Maria (Braun) Woelk. Being born to immigrants, her first language was German. In 1920, the family moved to Tripp County, South Dakota, where Erna attended Sporwein and Barker rural schools and three years at Dallas High School. Even as a small child, she was noted for her skill at milking cows, and she enjoyed fishing at Ponca Creek. After enduring the threadbare thirties, her family moved to near Flandreau, South Dakota in 1935. Erna worked for her board and room her senior year, and graduated from Flandreau High School in 1936. One year at Eastern Normal in Madison earned her a teaching certificate. She taught seven years in Moody County rural schools before going to Sioux Falls and being employed the next seven years at Crescent Creamery, of which six were as Office Manager. On May 17, 1952, Erna was married to Jerome Ziegenbalg at Memorial Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. They were blessed with three daughters, who brought countless joys to their home. From 1965 to 1985, Erna worked in the offices at Foremost and Lakeside dairies, enjoying the dairy business once again. In 2004, she and Jerome moved to Brookings, South Dakota, to be near family. Erna suffered a stroke in October 2010, but she maintained her good nature and her sense of humor. She moved to Lakewood, Colorado, in September 2012. Erna was an avid reader, enjoying non-fiction, works of literature, and poetry. She had committed many poems to memory, and recited them often, to the delight of her family. She was a prolific writer of letters, many of which became prized possessions of the recipients. Erna could turn a phrase, and had articles and letters published in the Argus Leader and the South Dakota Magazine. She was a great cook and baker, and she loved experimenting with new recipes, while not forsaking her family favorites. Erna could always accommodate another person at her table, and the spare bedroom was available to anyone needing a place to rest. She demonstrated compassion, humility, mercy, and hospitality, and her daughters were blessed to share in her life. Preceding her in death are her husband, parents, infant brother Heinrich, brothers Otto, Edward, and George, and sister-in-law Ruth. She is survived by three daughters: Rebecca (David) Hudson of Lakewood, CO; Susan (Michael) King of Phoenix, AZ; and Ruth (Lance) Nixon of Pierre, SD; sister Louise Nelson of Flandreau, SD; eleven grandchildren: Yvonne (Jessie) Cook, Jeremiah (Karen) Hudson, Joshua (Christine) Hudson, Sarah Andersen, Naomi (Brian) Alton, Hannah Andersen, Jedidiah Nixon, Kristjan Nixon, Aarne Nixon, Maria Nixon, Hans Nixon; ten great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.