HAMILTON - Esther Zerbst was called to her eternal home on August 28, 2020 at the age of 97. She was born on July 21, 1923 to Jacob and Lydia (Brandner) Reich in Zeeland, ND. At the age of 13 she moved with her 7 siblings and parents to the Bitterroot Valley where her dad found work during the Great Depression. Esther only finished the 7th grade when she went to work helping to make ends meet for the family.
During WWII, she worked in the shipyards in Vancouver, WA. She met Arnold Zerbst, her husband to be, at church just before he left for the Army Air Force. After the war ended, they married and started farming in the Grantsdale area. After selling that farm, the family moved to Sunburst for 6 years, working for a wheat farmer before moving to St. Ignatius, where they were dairy farmers for 13 years. Upon Arnold's retirement they moved back to the Bitterroot Valley. Esther was married to Arnold for 57 1/2 years before he was taken to be with the Lord. To their union they were blessed with 4 children: Donald, Gilbert, Irene, and Edward. Besides her 4 children she was blessed with 11 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren.
Esther was very active in her church, Grace Lutheran, with LWML, going to Bible Studies, making Quilts, singing in the choir among other activities. She was active in the American Legion Auxiliary and was a gold star mother. Some of her greatest joys were working in her flowers, baking for her family, crocheting, embroidery and sewing. Her greatest legacy was in knowing the Lord as her Savior and sharing it with her family. She showed this faith in the life she lived and shared with others.
Esther is preceded in death by her husband, Arnold; sons, Gilbert and Edward, her parents Jacob and Lydia Reich; brothers, Milton Reich and Ruben Reich; sisters, Florence Guse, Ella Anderson, and Freida Tietz. She is survived by her son, Donald and wife Sandy of Spokane, WA; daughter, Irene Gruber and husband James of Fullerton, NE; brother Gilmer Reich of Hamilton; and sister, Rosie Hayden of Missoula, and her grandkids, great grandkids, and lots of nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, at Grace Lutheran, 275 Hattie Ln, Hamilton with Rev. Vern Sandersfeld officiating. Interment will be at Pleasant View Cemetery, St. Ignatius at 2:00 p.m.
The family suggests memorials be given to Grace Lutheran Church for their bus fund. Esther used that church bus lots to get to and from the church for services and really appreciate having the ride even if she was the only person they picked up.
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