Funeral services will be held Saturday, March 12, 2011 at 10 a.m. at St. John's Lutheran Church in Storm Lake. Burial will be in the Buena Vista Memorial Park Cemetery in Storm Lake. The Sliefert Funeral Home in Storm Lake is in charge of the arrangements.
Most anyone who met Esther Linge could have easily found that when their birthday rolled around, there would be a card or phone greeting in song from her.....every year. It sounds simple enough and yet quite extraordinary. Esther easily celebrated everyone she met and knew, with the gentle, generous gesture of reminding at least one human being each day that they mattered. The birthday wishes comprise only a small part of a remarkable routine of service that she welcomed daily. She fashioned a career of caring that fulfilled a deep spiritual commitment, blossoming throughout her entire life.
She discovered at an early age that her sharp memory enabled her to learn Bible passages along with many other wonderful things which she joyfully shared with others. "I knew that I could figure out how to do something through simple observation and then I was able to make someone else's day brighter." Her two years of piano lessons from the nuns at the Pomeroy Catholic Church were an incredible gift to young Esther Martha Fricke, who normally had to teach herself what she wanted to learn. Such determination blended with talent, guided her to then teach herself to play the organ. Over the years, you could find her practicing on the St John Lutheran Church organ as she prepared for any number of events where she filled in as organist.
Most other days at St John Lutheran Church in Storm Lake, you were sure to discover Esther giving assistance to so many activities that needed her talent, energy, persistence, graciousness and good humor. You might have been in her Sunday school class, youth craft club, or sang in the choir with her. Or maybe you joined her in hours of service to Ladies Aid and Quilters Society. You could count on Esther and she was proud to work behind the scenes or in whatever way was needed. She was always a blessing.
Her "boys," as she proudly referred to sons John and Gordon, affectionately proclaim that their mother practiced "multi-tasking" before it became today's familiar buzz word. The scene was familiar for them--- their mother preparing her signature rump roast, while baking bread, cookies and/or pies and then heading for the sewing machine to finish an item she was stitching for someone. All the while running a schedule through her head of who she needed to drive to a community event, or who in hospital or the nursing home in need of a visit. She thrived on her unique knack for accomplishing so many tasks that ultimately enriched so many.
When John and Gordon brought their family's home to Storm Lake, spouses and grandchildren learned how fortunate they were to have Esther," Grandma Linge", or "Bambi "in their lives. She was available to teach them how to make pffeffernesse cookies, German Christmas paper stars, roll the perfect pie crust , compete in the house "Skip Bo" championship and even have her nails painted in her young granddaughters' "beauty shop."
She created unique quilts, embroidered pillows, charming dolls (including an 8 foot Raggedy Ann for Santa's Castle) and ceramic pieces that remain cherished treasures. She costumed as a clown for the family reunion and crafted a clown costume for a grandchild. Family members often referred to Esther Martha Linge as Esther Martha "Stewart" Linge.... as she made home-making, gardening and crafting fashionable, long before the business icon appeared. She was in disbelief that her German paper stars were being sold as a do-it-yourself mail order kit by Stewart for $40 a dozen.
Her clear and clever mind endured all the days of her life and enabled her to enjoy lively conversations on so many topics including religion, politics, and current events. Likewise she took continual pleasure in reading Scripture and inspirational writings every day. Handwritten letters in her beautiful script were always a welcome treat to family and friends.
Today, tomorrow and beyond, someone who knew Esther Linge will be having a birthday. Though a card or call from Esther is but a memory, her sincere and dependable sentiments endure, to reflect a life of love, faith and service. She has modeled a lifestyle for younger generations to emulate.