Esther Wilson, 99, Leaf River, IL
Esther Eileen (Werkheiser) Wilson, 99, passed peacefully Monday, April 16, three days short of her 100th birthday. She was born April 19, 1918, on the family farm in Jo Daviess County, the Sixth child of William Leslie and Emma Belle (Finkenbinder) Werkheiser. She married Ralph Malone Wilson of Leaf River on June 5, 1943, in Seward. They were married for 66 years at the time of his death in January 2010.
Esther graduated from Lena High School with the class of 1936, continued her education with a scholarship at Northern Illinois University, and received her bachelor’s degree in education. She taught in the rural schools of Blanchard, Poplar Grove, and Cherry Hill prior to and during the first two years of her marriage. She resumed her teaching career at Leaf River Grade School.
She was a faithful member of the Leaf River United Methodist Church, serving as a choir member, Sunday school teacher, and a leader on various boards. As a caretaker of family history, she was proud to be a member of the DAR, Daughters of the American Revolution. She was a long-time member of the Leaf River Grange. Above all, she was most dedicated to loving and supporting her family.
Esther remains deeply loved by her family: children, Kay Wilson of Grinnell, Iowa, Marcia (Dennis) Morrissey of Bloomington, and Kevin (Patti) Wilson of Leaf River; grandchildren, Sara Croft (Mitra Rahnema) of Grinnell, Iowa, Peter Croft of St. Joseph, Dunavan (Julie) Billups of Streator, Kristin Billups of Bloomington, Benjamin (Chris) Wilson of Leaf River, Carist (Mike) Koehl of Leaf River, Emmalee (Chad) Rupp of Hazel Green, Wisconsin; great-grandchildren, Bethany (Braden), Payton, Owen, Charleston, Wyatt, Hailey, Wade, Michael, Alexis, Daniel, Lily,Sawyer, Miles; sister-in-law: Ruth Werkheiser of Freeport, IL.
In addition to her husband, she is predeceased by her parents; brothers, Mervin, Sheldon, Owen, Don, Marlow; sisters, Marian, Ardeth, Verla.
Visitation will be at 1:00 p.m. Thursday, April 19 at Leaf River United Methodist Church. Service at 2:00 p.m. following the visitation. Pastor David W. Poust will officiate. Interment at North Grove Christian Cemetery. Memorials to Leaf River United Methodist Church and North Grove Christian Cemetery. Arrangements by Finch Funeral Home.