- On June 7, 2023
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Erminia Orsino, known by all as Erma, passed away in Palm Spring, California. She was born in 1938, to parents Olianus and Vancie Orsino. Erma grew up in Washington and Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her siblings, Germaine Orsino and Orlando Orsino.
Also blessed by many family and friends. Those whom she loved knew that she loved them, and that they were loved deeply.
She joined the U.S. Navy out of high school and served honorably until her discharge. Following her service, she moved to Los Angeles, where she established herself as one of first female hair stylists for men, opening a salon in West Hollywood. There she developed an enviable clientele of celebrities. Rock Hudson, Peter Lawford, Jim Nabors, and Pierre Salinger were among her loyal patrons.
From Hollywood, Erma relocated to Palm Springs, California. She brought her indefatigable spirit, and soon grew to be a much-loved and respected member of the lesbian community there. Nephew, Rob stated that “Aunt Erma introduced diversity to our family, teaching us that love was what really mattered.” She was unabashedly homosexual, and she defied many hurtful stereotypes.
Erma was extraordinary. She was an accomplished pilot, taking 2nd place alongside Wally Funk, in a 1975 racing competition of the Ninety-Nine’s Club, an International Association of Women Pilots. A free thinker, her vocabulary was NSFW. She cut through the pleasantries and got to the heart of the conversation. Straight-forward, bitingly funny, an incredible wit to the end. As her cousin, Lisa Gomez, recalled, “She was always ‘let’s get to the point, let’s talk about it, it’s over now, you can go home, or you can hang up….’” That was Erma.
A graveside service will be held on Tuesday, July 11, 2023 at 9 am at The Washington Cemetery.
Our Erma was ahead of her time, and she lived her life to its fullest. She will be very greatly missed.
Bon voyage, to our beloved aunt, cousin, and friend, Erminia Orsino.