Elmer was the youngest son of Edward and Beverly Kurtz, who lived in the Ypsilanti community of Stutsman County, North Dakota.
Elmer Kurtz married Beverly Lien on December 28, 1947, after which they lived on the Carl Mueller farm for a couple of years. In 1950, after the death of his brother, Martin, they moved to the Kurtz farm, caring for Elmer's parents until their deaths.
During World War II, Elmer served in the military for three and a half years, including two years overseas, active duty in the Philippines and Okinawa, 96th Division.
In the fall of 1975, they rented out the farmland and moved to Ypsilanti. Elmer died on February 10, 1981. At the time that the Ypsilanti Community Centennial Book was published in 1982, Beverly had managed the grocery store in Ypsilanti since August of 1981.
Elmer and Beverly were the parents of four children, including a daughter who died at birth. Their children were: Katherine Louise, Velinda, and Michael.