Cover photo for Esther Howard's Obituary
Esther Howard Profile Photo

Esther Howard

March 20, 1922 — March 8, 2020

Esther Howard

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound . . . Esther Howard joined her beloved daughter in heaven on March 8, 2020, five years to the day since Carla Haley Mains took her last breath. This sweet, kind, loving spirit fought until the end when her body became too weak to fight any more.Esther was born on March 20, 1922 in a farm house in Bessie, Oklahoma to Otto and Anna Miller, the second child and only girl in their growing family. (She and her older brother, Herbert, were later joined by Walter, Alfred, Raymond, and Lloyd.) Times were hard but the family worked together and Esther's feisty personality emerged. She teased her younger brothers mercilessly, telling Walter if he stood on the top of the chicken coop and flapped his arms, he could fly. Well, he couldn't and broke his arm. She also told her younger sibling that if he dug down in a red ant hole, he would find tiny toy trucks and tractors. Fortunately, her mother saw what was happening and stopped things before anyone was bitten.When her mother became ill, Esther quit school in eighth grade to help out at home. She always regretted having to leave school, but her determination and amazing common sense took over, making her one of the smartest people her daughters ever knew. That determination and a love for style lead to Esther teaching herself to sew. She became an expert seamstress, making beautiful clothes for her girls.Her first marriage in her early 20s was to Wendell Stevens Haley. They made their home in Kingsdown, Kansas, where Wendell grew up, eventually moving to Ashland, Kansas. When it was determined they were unable to have children, they decided to adopt. The process took some three years, but finally, on a Saturday morning in the fall of 1956, Esther received the call that would change their lives. There were two-and-a half month old twin girls in Wichita who needed parents. They packed up the car and drove the three hours to Wichita, with Esther anxiously wondering, "What if they're ugly, what if I don't like them?" So silly because anyone who knew her knows she would take in any stray. Such a kind-hearted woman. And, Carla and Charla became their pride and joy.Esther lovingly devoted herself to raising the girls, planning tea parties with tiny cakes she made just for them, teaching them to read, and surrounding them with music.When the girls started fifth grade, Esther and Wendell divorced and they both were lucky to find love again. Esther married F. Wayne Howard on May 25,1969. That marriage took them and the girls to Wichita, Kansas where Wayne was employed at Boeing. Not too long after that, Esther started work at a fabric store, which she enjoyed because it gave her a chance to keep up on the newest patterns and fabrics. Another move in the 70s took the family to Oklahoma City where they remained until Wayne passed away in his sleep in October of 2000. That was a devastating blow to Esther since he was a peacemaker and her hero. But, her stubborn determination took over and she managed to make new friends, eventually moving to Cordell to be closer to family. Carla's death at the age of 58 was hard on Esther and as her health deteriorated, Charla and Stephen made the decision to move her to Utah to live with them. She spent a little more than two years in their home, and was able to experience the joy of family dinners with grandchildren she hadn't been able to see very often. The last several months of her life were spent at Holladay Healthcare in Holladay, Utah with devoted staff members who loved her smile. She also charmed employees of Canyon Home Care and Hospice with her sweet disposition.Esther is preceded in death by (her husband), Wayne, (daughter), Carla, (brothers), Walter, Herbert, Raymond, (nephew) Charles, (niece) Rhonda, (nephew) Rodney, and sisters-in-law, Clara, Ann, and Jane. She is survived by her daughter, Charla and her husband, Stephen Fitzwater (who sacrificed his own business interests to make caring for Esther a priority), and (grandchildren) Chris Kucera (Emily), Gage Fitzwater, and Corinna Fitzwater. She also leaves behind her precious great granddaughter, Avrielle Fitzwater. She is survived by Mike Mains (Carla's husband), and grandchildren, Jodi, Jenison (Justin), and Mikey. Her brothers Alfred (Jean), and Lloyd, along with sister-in-law Jean also mourn her passing. Family was everything to Esther and she devoted much of her life to praying for her family and beloved church members at the Mennonite Brethren Church in Cordell.She will be missed by countless friends and treasured family members, but we know her heavenly reunions must have been a glorious sight to behold.
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Past Services

Funeral Service

Monday, March 16, 2020

Smith & Kernke NW 23rd Street Chapel

Northwest 23rd Street, OK

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