JACKSON - ESTHER P. RINGKOB, 100, of Jackson passed away on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, at Good Samaritan Center in Jackson. Funeral service will be 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012, at Our Savior's Lutheran Church with Pastor Brian Simmons officiating. Burial will be in Riverside Cemetery, Jackson, immediately following the service.
Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the Church.
Esther P. Hansen was born on a farm near Havelock, Iowa, on Jan. 7, 1912, to Peter and Hannah (Minnie) Hansen. It was 30 degrees below zero that night. When she was 14 months old, the family moved to a farm near Alpha, Minn. Later there were two brothers born, Arthur and Gordon. Esther attended grade school at Petersburg and Alpha, and then graduated from the 8th grade at District 19 country school. She roomed in town in order to attend Jackson High School and graduated in 1929. After attending Normal School for teacher training in Jackson the following year, she taught grades 1-8 in rural schools for five years. At her first job at District 93, she met her future husband, Tom Ringkob, when he attended the school's Christmas program. They were married in 1935 at her parents' home.
There were five children born to this union: two boys and three girls. Their first daughter died as an infant. Esther helped on the farm, had a huge garden, cooked for everyone including a hired man, sewed clothing and was active in the community. At church, she taught Sunday School, vacation Bible school, and Bible studies at Circle. In later years, she assembled many quilts both at church and home with every grandchild receiving one. She helped and encouraged her children in 4-H, FFA, piano lessons and school activities. Esther was an excellent photographer and historian, and wrote four family history books. Every July 4th, she took a picture of the family standing in the corn field. She liked math, writing and bookkeeping, and used these skills to keep a very accurate daily record book from the 1930s until 2011.
Through the years, she and Tom enjoyed car trips with their children in the United States and Canada. Later, Tom and Esther took a couple trips to Europe, one to South America, and another to Australia and New Zealand. While they were on that last trip, they took a day-long plane ride over Antarctica. One of their favorite vacations was to Alaska.
Esther and Tom retired from the farm in 1976 and moved into Jackson. Tom died in 1987. When Esther reached age 90, she moved into the Pines Assisted Living Community. She really liked living there and appreciated the excellent care. In 2006, Jackson celebrated 150 years. Esther rode in the parade as the oldest Jackson High School graduate attending the festivities. When Esther turned 99, she moved to the Good Samaritan Society Home, where she also received very good care. Up until that time, she had read the daily newspaper, paid her own bills and kept her daily record book. Last January, when she turned 100 years old, she loved her party given by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She also was featured by Willard Scott on the "Today" show.
Esther is survived by her four children Thomas (Paula) of Reno, Nev.; Kent (Debi) of Jackson; Kathleen Starrs of Littleton, Colo.; and Marita (Gene) Rouse of Huxley, Iowa; nine grandchildren: Amy, Steve, John, Mark, Keri, David, Adam, Paul and Julie; and 10 great-grandchildren: Elizabeth, Thomas, Ashton, Grayson, Jacob, Leah, Benjamin, Aiden, Reid and Geneva. She is also survived by her sister-in-law, Ruth Hansen; and numerous nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Peter and Hannah Hansen; infant daughter, Ruth Mary; brothers, Arthur and Gordon; son-in-law, James Starrs; and several brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.
The family suggests memorials to the Good Samaritan Society of Jackson.