Herald Journal Obituaries


Esther Anna Kassen

Esther Anna Kassen, age 91 of Lester Prairie, died Sunday, Dec. 26, 2004 at St. Mary’s Care Center in Winsted.

Esther was born March 4, 1913 in Washington Lake Township, Sibley County, the daughter of Albert and Mary (Oelfke) Panning. She was baptized March 9, 1913 at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Hamburg, and confirmed into the faith April 10, 1927 at the same church.

She attended school at Emanuel Lutheran and Central High School in Norwood Young America, before graduating from Fairmont High School.

Esther was united in marriage to Willard Kassen Feb. 7, 1937 at her home by the Rev. H. J. Bouman. The couple rented farms near Waconia and Delano for a short time before settling on their own farm near Winsted in 1945. They lived on the Winsted farm until 1980, when they moved to Lester Prairie.

Esther was a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Lester Prairie.

She enjoyed sewing, baking, gardening, canning, and was an avid Twins fan. During retirement, she and Willard enjoyed fishing together.

Esther also always enjoyed helping on the farm and visiting family. She especially enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Esther was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Willard; son-in-law Harlan Hilk; sisters and brothers Anita Selchow, Olga Young, Marie Miller, Ralph Panning, and Joanne Kelsey; sister-in-law Lyla Kassen; and brother-in-law Vernon Kassen.

She is survived by her daughters, Kathleen Hilk of Lester Prairie, LaVonne Stock (husband Lyle) of Shell Lake, Wis.; and Diane Ittel (husband Douglas) of New Germany; and grandchildren: Kristin Davis (husband John), Brian Hilk (wife Teri), Michelle Herlund (special friend Eric Nickels), Melanie Caulfield (husband John), Troy Goede (wife Kim), Dawn Ellig (special friend Matt Johnson), Ryan Hedtke (wife Connie), Kellie Osterkamp (husband Dan), Chad Ittel (wife Tami), Traci Mackenthun, and Melissa Ittel (fiancé Mark Foster).

Esther is further survived by great-grandchildren Brandon Hilk, Colin Hilk, Lindsey Caulfield, Madison Caulfield, Amber Goede (special friend Ted Johnson), Dustin Goede, Matthew Goede, Cody Ellig, Shawn Osterkamp, Joshua Osterkamp, and Jayda Mackenthun; and her sister Monica Kamps of Norwood Young America.

In addition, Esther is survived by brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Fred Miller (wife Leona) of Glencoe, Lorna Panning of Arlington, Mildred Kusserow of Waconia, Mabel Schwartz of Minneapolis, Luola Manteuffel (husband Wilbur) of Moundsview, Orville Kassen (wife Liz) of Sandstone, Eleanor Barnes (husband Jerry) of Columbus, Neb.; Edwin Kassen (wife Janice) of Red Wing, and Myron Kassen (wife Audrey) of Lake Crystal; as well as nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.

Funeral services were Wednesday, Dec. 29 at 1 p.m. at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Lester Prairie with the Rev. Eric Nelson officiating. The organist was Marsha Christenson, and the congregational hymns were “How Great Thou Art,” “Children of the Heavenly Father,” “Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me,” and “Away in a Manger.” Interment was in the church cemetery.

Visitation took place Tuesday evening, Dec. 28 at the Paul-McBride Funeral Chapel in Lester Prairie.

Serving as casket bearers were Brian Hilk, Troy Goede, Ryan Hedtke, Chad Ittel, Verndale Selchow, and Randy Kamps.

Arrangements were with the Paul-McBride Funeral Chapel in Lester Prairie.

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