Esther Louise Kuther, 90, died Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, at the Grangeville Health and Rehab Center.
Esther Louise Kinzer was born Dec. 15, 1923, at Uniontown, Wash., the sixth child of Michael and Gertrude (Wittman) Greif Kinzer. A few days later her mother died, and Esther was taken in by her aunt and uncle, Mary and Henry Bosse, who lived near Keuterville. After her dad married Katherine (Hanses) Madden, Esther came to live with them in Ferdinand.
After graduating from the eighth grade at St. Maurus Catholic School in Ferdinand, Esther worked at her father’s farm west of town until the beginning of World War II, when she moved first to Spokane, Wash., to work and then to Vancouver, Wash., where she lived with her sister and brother-in-law, Jean and Ed Mason. She got a job in the shipyards as a welder for several years.
After the war ended, she returned to Ferdinand and starting working for a farmer in Fenn. Cletus Kuther had a car and was also working in Fenn, so she rode back and forth with him, and this was the beginning of their courtship. That fall he said to her, “Well, we just as well get married.” She was in favor, so they got married the morning of Dec. 10, 1947.
They didn’t want a big wedding, so they chose the chapel in the grade school. There was a Mass there every morning at 8 a.m. for the school children. Besides the wedding party, there were just a few friends at the wedding, plus a whole bunch of the grade school kids.
Cletus and Esther settled in Ferdinand, where they raised their five children. At one time she had four kids under the age of 4, so she was a stay-at-home mom. In 1969, Esther started working as a cook at St. Gertrude’s Academy, which later became Prairie High School, a job she held until retiring in January, 1994.
After retirement, Esther enjoyed visiting, playing cards, bowling, and volunteering at St. Mary’s Hospital, Second Hand Rose and Tiny Tots Learning Center, all in Cottonwood. She always enjoyed cooking, especially for family gatherings.
Esther was a member of the Assumption Catholic Church, the Christian Mothers, and the Get Together Club in Ferdinand, and the American Legion Auxiliary in Craigmont.
She is survived by her husband of 67 years, Cletus Kuther of Ferdinand; and by four children, Joe and Kathy Kuther of Greencreek, Lyle and Shelley Kuther of Craigmont, Roselyn and Tom Nuttman of Keuterville, Karol and Tim Holthaus of Ferdinand; and a daughter-in-law, Phyllis Kuther of Eagle Point, Ore.; 10 grandchildren, Erin and David Shears of Cottonwood, Kevin and Laurie Kuther of Boise, and Nikki and Dean Shears of Lewiston, Justin and Susan Kuther of Gold Hill, Ore., and Melissa Gerlach of Boise, Wade Nuttman of Ferdinand and Jennifer and Shaun Edwards of San Diego, Calif., Clinton and Jonna Holthaus of Cottonwood, Anissa Holthaus and Edwin Hunter of Spring Valley, Calif., and Gina and Drew Mosman of Nezperce; great-grandchildren are Madison, Keenan and Carter Shears; Eden, Luke and Hadlee Kuther; Rylee, Reed and Kane Kuther, McKinley and Aspen Gerlach, Alex, Damon and Nakonia Nuttman; Dion Hunter, and Blayne and Colby Mosman; step-grandchildren, Layne Gerlach, Shaun Edwards II, Xavier and Brittney Hunter and Monique Wagner.
Esther was preceded in death by a son, Ron, who drowned in 1980; brothers, Don Kinzer and Ambrose “Shrimp” Kinzer; and sisters, Marie Frei, Carmelita Heitman and Eugenia Mason; half-brothers, Ben Kinzer, Al and Irvin Greif; and half-sisters, Hilda Druffel and Henrietta Goeckner.
Funeral services were held March 4 at the Ferdinand Assumption Church followed by burial at the Ferdinand Cemetery and a dinner at the parish hall. A Rosary was held Monday evening at the Ferdinand Church.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to St. Mary’s Foundation for the Alzheimer’s Support Group, Box 137, Cottonwood, ID 83522 or to a charity of the donor’s choice.
Uhlorn Funeral Home in Cottonwood was in charge of arrangements.
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