SIOUX CENTER—Esther Kempers, age 93 of Sioux Center, Iowa, died Thursday, July 4, 2019, at Royale Meadows Care Center of Sioux Center.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 13, at the First Reformed Church in Sioux Center, with the Rev. Stephen Breen officiating. Family will gather at the church for a prayer service at 9:30 a.m. followed by burial at Memory Gardens Cemetery in Sioux Center.
Visitation will be 5-7 p.m. Friday, July 12, at the Memorial Funeral Home of Sioux Center.
Memorials may be directed to Crossroads Prison Ministries, 2480 44th St. S.E., Kentwood, MI 49512.
Esther Lavonne (Bosch) Kempers was born on March 1, 1926, to Peter Bosch and Pearl (Hulstein) Bosch in Sanborn, IA, the youngest of six children. She attended grade school in Sanborn and then moved to Sioux Center where she completed her education and was Valedictorian of her Senior class. Because it was the World War II era, her graduation speech acknowledged the hurting families that were sending loved ones to war. She then worked in the local shoe store, and taught country school.
While attending CE (Christian Endeavor — youth group) she met Orville, resulting in their marriage on Aug. 15, 1946. They were blessed with six children that were raised on the Kempers Century Farm. Of all she did, she considered being a mother her Highest Calling. She was an integral part of the farming operation as bookkeeper for the Purebred Hog business, organizing the sales, and staying close to the phone in case a boar buyer called. For that reason, and her exceptional organizational skills, she only drove to town once a week for errands and groceries.
As a devoted member of First Reformed Church, she taught Sunday School, Catechism, was a charter member of Lydia circle, sang in choir and looked forward to Monday afternoons with the quilters. She was a faithful letter writer to her children and grandchildren out of state and a prayer warrior for all. She responded to the call of writing letters to prisoners through Crossroads Prison Ministries. She was a 4-H Leader for the Welcome Peppy Pals.
She cooked, canned, and gardened because it was her responsibility. She sewed, bowled and tatted doilies because she loved it. Esther enjoyed competitive game playing, having her nails painted well, and savored a good cup of “regular” coffee.
A favorite pastime was attending many of her grandchildren’s events. Her famous chocolate chip cookies and “shellac” Christmas cookies earned her the title “Cookie Grandma.”
Her faith in God was most important to her. As long as she was able, she knelt by her bed nightly to pray and regularly read her beloved Bible. Music was another expression of her faith. The piano was in the center of the home, and she played hymns and Gospel music, encouraging the family to sing along. Various combinations of her children began singing for her Lydia Circle. In 1966, the original Kempers Quartet began singing at evening church services. The current quartet considered it an honor to give concerts for Mom and her friends at Crown Pointe and Royal Meadows. She also incorporated music in her parenting skills. If the kids were arguing, she would suggest singing their “words” to each other, and soon they would be laughing instead of fighting.
In 2001 she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. When she moved to Crown Pointe at age 84, and Royal Meadows at age 91, she was known to welcome newcomers, keep a positive attitude, play board games, Wii bowling and piano.
Esther is survived by her sons and daughters-in-law, Karl and Gloria Kempers and Rog and Sheryl Kempers of Sioux Center, Les and Fatima Kempers of Hawaii, daughters and sons-in-law, Eunice and Bill Senyard of Colorado, Janet and Doug Boone, and Kathy and Mark Sneller of Sioux Center, along with 16 grandchildren plus eight by marriage; 16 great-grandchildren; one sister-in-law, Naomi Bosch of Sanborn, IA; and 10 nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband of 60 years, Orville, and her five siblings and four of their spouses, John and Jeanette Bosch, Carolyn and Donald Dummett, Fanny and Jake Haagsma, Gerald and Artella Bosch, and Art Bosch. Also by Orv’s siblings and spouses, Gary and Rosemary (Taylor) Kempers, and John Kempers, John and Joan Bultje, and many friends.