Esther Elsa Hessler, 96, matriarch of the family, died Wednesday, September 18, 2019 at Heritage Estates.

She was born in Bayard, NE to Henry and Charlotte Hass, March 1, 1923. She was a proud American who lived her life in Bayard, Bridgeport and Minatare. She lost her dad at the age of 9, which left a deep sorrow her entire life. Her strong faith, love for God sustained her throughout her life.

Esther keep all of the German Heritage traditions, food, language, church and expressions always present in her life.

She was baptized, confirmed and married at Salem Congregational Church.

She attended school until the 8th grade and loved to learn, with no one to take her to school, she self-taught herself to crochet, play the piano, accordion, become an accomplished cook, gardener, raise tons of flowers and became a great “hired man” on the farm.

On Valentine’s Day, she became engaged to Ruben Hessler, who she met at a dance. She fell head over heels in love with him. They were married March 2, 1941 at Salem Congregational Church, with trumpets and accordion music leading them into the church. They had one of the German traditional weddings, a 3 day Dutch Hop wedding.

Gary and Joy were the children born to this union. She loved all of her family and was very protective of them.

Esther and Ruben were farmers. Mom worked side by side with her husband and did everything except planting. They raised chickens, ducks, pigs, sheep, cattle, horses, geese, guineas and peacocks. All of the edible things were served up on the family table. They always had a large garden, canned, froze or stored their harvest.

Esther loved her church deeply and served in many ways to help keep the church going. She made fudge, butterballs, noodles, dina kuchen, grebel, jelly to sell for the church bazaar. She sang in the German choir, was a member of the Ladies of Salem Study Group, played the piano for them, charter member of the Red Hat Hooters, member of the German from Russian Historical Society, member of the Sunbeam Extension Club for many years.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Ruben, son Gary, granddaughter Heidi, brothers and wives Carl and Lena Hass, Henry, Dollie, Marie, Thelma Hass, sisters and husbands Pauline and Alex Heilbrun, Mollie and John Keller, Henry, Ella Pester, Henry and Millie Aschenbrenner, Emmert Hessler and Arlene Dietrich, grandson Kevin Dahlstead

She is survived by Joy and Vern, Tami and Rick Pierce, Danielle, Kevin, Carter, Cayden and Dylan, Lindesay, Nichole, Aaron and Avery Eckas, Michael and Katie, Hinley Pierce, Brannon Pierce; Tari Baker and Billy Carlucchi, Traci and Ladd, Tyler and Hallie, Ryan and Trey Pettit, Kevin Dahlstead, Wren, Chad, Sidda and Phoebe Wilcox, Mara and Jake Anderson, Conrad and Megan Dahlstead, Donna Hessler and family.

Thank you to Heritage for mom’s special care. She loved it there and played the piano to entertain, prayed before the meals and got excellent attention. You are deeply appreciated.

Death takes the body, God takes the soul, Our minds hold the memories, Our hearts keep the Love, Our faith lets us know we will meet again.

Services will be held on Monday, September 23, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. at Salem Congregational Church with Pastor Dale Brown officiating. A private family inurnment will be held at a later date at East Lawn Cemetery in Minatare.

Visitation will be Sunday, September 22, from 1-4 pm at Dugan Kramer Funeral Chapel. Memorials can be sent to Joy and Vern Eberhardt, 804 Ave B, Box 2, Minatare, NE 69356 to be established in Esther’s name. Online condolences may be left at

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