Esther Alice Dick

Esther Alice Dick, 98, died peacefully at her home on Jan. 23, 2014, with family in attendance. Services will begin at 10:30 a.m. this Friday, Jan. 31, at the Chaney-Reager Funeral Home with Pastor David Loeschke officiating with interment at Riverside Cemetery.

A luncheon will follow at the First English Lutheran Church at 701 Fairhurst.

Esther was born on "Earth Day," April 22, 1915, in Loveland. The oldest child of John and Kate Walker, she lived with her parents for four years on their homestead near Stoneham and then moved to Sterling where her father eventually secured a permanent position with the Burlington Northern Railroad. Esther and her five siblings treasured many trips to the mountains in a Model-T to fish and camp with their father. It was quite an adventure just driving the narrow, rough roads in those days!

Esther graduated from Sterling High School in 1933 during the height of the Great Depression. She did well academically and participated in the Latin Club, French Club, the publications staff, and was a student librarian. After high school she worked at Woolworths (once a mainstay in Sterling) to help support the family.

In 1939 Esther received a scholarship to attend Bethel Nursing School in Colorado Springs. After graduation she would serve as a nurse for medical facilities in Sterling and in Aurora for over the 40 years.

In 1941 Esther married Harold Dick, a handsome Padroni High School graduate. They lived mainly in Denver and in the Sterling area with their three children: Sharon, Margie, and Mark. After her husband Harold's death in 1989, Esther continued to tend her beautiful "Earth Day" gardens that showcased a wide variety of flowers blooming profusely from early spring until late fall. She also continued her aerobic exercises, walked every day, and jumped rope well into her 90s.

Esther was a true icon of resilience and perserverence. She was deeply impacted by the Dust Bowl and the Depression, a horrible car accident at 18, a child lost at birth, and the trials of outliving most of her family, classmates, and friends. At 5'1" she was always showing family and friends up with her jump roping skills, chin ups, and foot racing. She had a disdain for cooking so ate modestly and resorted to many home remedies instead of nursing practices to cure illnesses. She stayed mentally sharp by reading biographies, autobiographies, historical nonfiction, and the entire Bible.

Although Esther, the energetic whirlwind of the Prairie is moving on… she will always be treasured and never forgotten.

Esther is survived by her son, Mark Dick of Sterling (her marvelous caretaker the last few years!); daughter, Sharon (Patrick) Fitzgerald of Orofino, Idaho; son-in-law, Dave Klein of Valencia, Calif.; grandchildren, Shelly Klein, Pamela Klein, and Jon Klein, all of Valencia, Calif.; Mike (Jeni) Fitzgerald of St. Maries, Idaho; and Brad (Jennine) Fitzgerald of Spokane, Wash.; great-grandchildren, Caden and Emma Fitzgerald of St. Maries, Idaho, and Sara and Grant Fitzgerald of Spokane, Wash.; brother, Rusty (Rena) Walker of Sterling, and sister, Ruth Baker of Sterling; sister-in-law, Mildred Dick of Windsor, and brother-in-law; Lou Schlenz of San Diego, Calif.; and numerous wonderful nieces and nephews.

Esther was preceded in death by her husband, Harold; daughter, Margie Klein of Valencia, Calif.; sisters, Lydia (Charles) Spafford of Sterling and Roberta (Don) Bettinger of Buffalo, Wyo.; brother, Bob (Helen) Walker of Sterling; sisters-in-law, Elvina (Chris) Schott of Sterling and Elfreda Schlenz of San Diego, Calif.; brothers-in-law, Harold Baker and Gerald Dick, both of Sterling.

Please plant a tree or flowers in your garden this spring in celebration of Esther's life and Earth Day! Donations can be made to First English Lutheran Church or Meals on Wheels in her honor.

Published in Journal Advocate on Jan. 29, 2014