Esther W. Dichraff, 83, formerly of 2 Boyle Place and Southlake Circle in Fond du Lac, died Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at Woodlands Senior Living where she had been a resident for the past 2 years. She was born to Martin and Ruth (Drevs) Pankow on April 10, 1932 in Merrill, Wis. growing up on the family farm in the same town. She married William Dichraff, Jr. on July 16, 1955, and together they raised 4 sons. After 47 years of marriage, he preceded her in death on July 11, 2002.
Nothing was more important to Esther than family. She was proud of each of her boys and their children, and liked nothing better than gathering the family together. Our vacations as we grew up were all about traveling to see grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins and second cousins, and inevitably involved a deck of cards and a spirited game. She played her last game (and won!) a week before she died, and is surely enjoying 500 Rummy with the relatives now.
Esther worked a number of jobs over the years, most notably at G&L and at Galloway West where she found her true calling as an executive secretary. She made many close friends and was a hard worker, never afraid to learn new things. Following her retirement, Esther poured her energy into service to others. She was an active member of the Noon Optimist Club, participating in numerous fund raising events. She was the editor of their newsletter and took her turn serving as the president of their chapter. She especially cherished distributing the proceeds of their efforts to children in need.
Esther loved her church. She was a member of Immanuel Trinity Lutheran Church for over 50 years. She spent much of her time in retirement volunteering in the office, filling in for staff during their staff meetings, and counting money. She was also a trained Stephen Minister giving support to people who needed a friend. As she got older she helped by folding and stuffing bulletins. Then, of course, were the prayer shawls. Yarn would just seem to appear next to her and her skilled hands turned out literally hundreds of prayer shawls to give comfort to individuals who were sick or shut-in all over the area.
Surviving Esther are her four sons; William (Roseann), James (Marjorie), Jeff and Bruce (Susan); seven grandchildren, Katie, Becca (Lance), Aaron, Alyssa¸ Brittany, Blake (Julia) and Bethany; her siblings, Gerri, Ron (Sharon) and Judi (Dave); and her sisters-in-law, Jean (Ken), Karen, and Loretta. In addition to her husband, William, she was preceded in death by her brothers, Verne and John; brothers-in-law, Tom, Howie and Ed; sisters-in-law, Sandy and Lil; and grandson, Joel.
A visitation for Esther will be held Saturday, January 23, 2016 from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM at Immanuel Trinity Lutheran Church, 20 Wisconsin American Dr. in Fond du Lac. Her funeral service will follow at 1:00 PM with Pastor Tom Meyer officiating. Cremation will follow the services and private family inurnment will take place at a later date at All Faiths Mausoleum, Rienzi Cemetery.
Memorials may be directed to Immanuel Trinity Lutheran Church
The family would like to thank the staff at Woodlands Senior Park for the compassionate care that Esther received throughout her stay there.