Esther Margaret (Funk) Presser died Friday, May 17, 2013, at the Faith Lutheran Home in Wolf Point, Mont ., where she had been a resident for the past 13 years. She was a month and a half past her 94th birthday.
She was born at home on the family farm near Hyrdo, Mont ., a rural area near the Canadian border north of Chinook. Making a living on the homestead was difficult, so the family moved across country by wagon to farm near Larslan, which is north and east of Nashua. Crops were good for several years and then came drought and the Great Depression.
She longed to go to high school, so the family planted a large vegetable garden and supplied the dormitory at Opheim High School so she could stay and attend school there.
When the farm dried out, the family moved to Glasgow where she began her sophomore year at Glasgow High School the fall of 1933. Shortly after that, the Fort Peck Dam project started and the family moved to New Deal, a shanty town near Fort Peck. She continued going to Glasgow High School and graduated the spring of 1936.
In the summer of 1936, she was working at Bierwagons Grocery in Valley (another shanty town near Fort Peck). It was there she first met a young, dark haired fellow by the name of Frank Presser, who was employed on the huge Fort Peck project. She and Frank were married on Feb. 12, 1938, in the little Lutheran Church that used to stand just across the street from the Fort Peck Theatre.
The newly married couple lived in Park Grove until the Fort Peck project was completed. Then it was off to a farm in the Presserville/Vida area, back to Fort Peck, and then to Glendive. In 1946, they moved back to Presserville and lived there for 12 years. It was in 1957 that she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and doctors gave her only a few years to live. However, she was a fighter and began the life-long battle with the disease as she studied everything she could find about MS until she knew more than most doctors.
In 1958, she and Frank built a new home in Wolf Point at 520 Fallon Street. While there, she was very involved with Scouts as well as her church. She served as church librarian for about 10 years. In 1973, she and Frank purchased the historic Bigfork Inn in Bigfork and operated the business for almost two years. When they decided they couldn't stand the cloudy and gloomy winters at Bigfork, they moved back to Wolf Point and resided at 320 Dawson Street until failing health necessitated a move by Esther to the Faith Lutheran Home in Wolf Point. Frank died on Aug. 11, 2007. They were married nearly 70 years.
She was preceded in death by her husband; parents Ferd and Agatha; siblings, Isaac, Edward, Elsie and Violet; two daughters, Joyce (Aug. 12, 1956) and Cheryl (May 3, 1963); and one son, Franklin “Frankie” (Feb. 5, 2009).
Survivors include three sons, Marvin Presser and his wife, Kay, of Wolf Point, Eugene Presser of Dayton, Mont ., and Lyle Presser and his wife, Marilyn, of Greely, Colo .; two younger sisters, Elizabeth “Betty” Brandt of Glasgow and Delsie Brooks of Kalispell; numerous nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
A family memorial graveside service was held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 22, at the Greenwood Cemetery in Wolf Point. She will be buried near her husband, Frank, her two beloved daughters, Joyce and Cheryl, and son, Frankie.
She was a devout christian and we know she has joined her loved ones in Heaven.
For those who wish to give memorials, the family suggests the Faith Lutheran Home Foundation, Inc ., 1000 6th Ave. North, Wolf Point, MT 59201.
The family is extremely grateful for the wonderful, loving car given to Esther (and Frank) by the staff at the Faith Home. They are outstanding!