OBITUARY

Sophia Helen (Moeller) Estes

30 April, 192722 May, 2021
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A brief regaling of the life and times of Grandma Sophia Estes as seen through the eyes of her Grandchildren:

Sophia Helena (Moeller) Estes was born April 30th, 1927, in Owensville, Gasconade County, Missouri, to Henry Frederick Moeller, 37 and Willamina “Minnie” Schlottach, 39. She passed away on May 22nd, 2021, in Denver, Colorado, and will be laid to rest at Chapel Hill Cemetery, Centennial, CO.

Sophia was preceded in death by her parents; husband John W. Estes Jr., son Steven Estes, siblings Hilda Moeller, Friedrich Moeller, Frieda Hilkerbaumer, granddaughter Kiegan Estes, and brother-in-law Herbert Hilkerbaumer. She is survived by her daughter Nancy and son-in-law Douglas Murray of Centennial, CO and son Mark Estes, of Colorado Springs, CO. Grandchildren: Joshua and Amy Murray, Lauren and Jeffrey Danforth, Jacob Murray, Cole and Kayla Estes, Abraham Estes and five great-grandchildren: Tyler and Mikayla Murray, Collin Estes and Matthew and Claire Danforth and many bonus family members.

Sophia grew up on a farm in Owensville, Mo with her mother, siblings and Great Grandparents. Her father passed away when she was 11 months old from blood poising. Like many of her generation Sophia grew up strong; with faith and country as her guide. She attended school in a one room school house and wouldn’t have electricity on the family farm till she was a senior in high school. Her mother and sister Frieda had many difficulties with Tuberculosis and would be in and out of sanitariums leaving Sophia to care and raise herself with the guidance of Grandparents.

One of the funniest things about growing up on a farm with lots of family involved in your upbringing is that when it came time for Grandma to learn how to spell her name Aunts would teach her the way they thought her name should be spelled; not the way it was on her birth certificate: thus a lifetime of sorting out is her name Sophie or Sophia, Helen or Helena? To set the record straight her birth certificate stated Sophie Helena.

Sophia would graduate High School in 1945. As this was the end of WW2 and many young men were off fighting for their country there weren’t many beau’s to be found in a small farm town. However because of a blind date set up by friends Sophia Moeller would meet and on December 4th, 1948 she would marry John W. Estes Jr. They made their first home in Saint Louis, Mo. When Grandma was courting Grandpa; he told her that he had many different health concerns and that by marring him she would have to care for his different needs. Sophia being the hearty farm girl willingly and lovingly accepted and would gladly care for him in sickness and in health. What a legacy of love and care she has passed down to her children and grandchildren (even her great grandchildren.)

Nancy was born to John and Sophia in 1952 and Steven would join the family 1955 and Mark in 1957. Around 1960 John and Sophia moved from Saint Louis, MO to Pueblo, CO. John was transferred with the Missouri Pacific Railroad. They would move up to the Denver neighborhood of Washington Park in Denver, CO in 1964 where they would resided until moving to Centennial, CO in 1997.

Sophia worked in the insurance industry as an executive secretary where she would proof read insurance applications and policies. She was proficient in her industry and an asset to her employers. Douglas would always say that Sophia had such confidence that she would do the crossword puzzle in ink!

Sophia also took her role as mother to be one of her greatest joys and accomplishments. She was a firm but loving mother to Nancy, Steven and Mark. Instilling work ethics in her children meant that they would work alongside her in the kitchen, yard and home. Sophia not only taught her daughter to cook she passed on the love of feeding people on to her granddaughter Lauren who now loves to cook for her family and small Armies.

After Sophia retired from Travelers Insurance she would join a quilting group that made blankets for single mothers and their children and would volunteer helping at a local food banks. She was very involved in her church when her health and independence allowed her to so; from bible studies to youth fundraisers. She will be missed by many of her Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit friends.

Spending time with grandma was always a special cherished time. Spoiled? Probably, however we loved every moment of it and it was always an amazing time spent at Grandma’s house. Sometimes I feel grandma was spoiled too....

Grandma loved making fried chicken for everyone and everyone raved about how amazing her fried chicken was!! The best part was she didn't serve us okra!! (Unless of course you were having dinner to meet future in-laws like Douglas did; then you were served okra.). Grandma made the best fried eggs as well; which is funny because she hated eggs. Jacob would argue that Grandma’s best meal was meatloaf as she often had to make one just for him; although I’m sure her children and Lauren would agree that Grandma made the best pot roast ever. Cousins would eat their eggs with ketchup, yet everyone got a little bit of whatever they wanted and that's how Grandma showed her love towards us…by being a short order cook. It seems like everyone has a food story of Grandma and we would be remised to not mention the time when she made a requested strawberry rhubarb pie. The only problem is; she forgot the sugar! Being the kind and loving children and grandchildren that we are…we never let her forget it! Grandma would go on a special grocery shopping trips for Wild Cherry Pepsi for Cole when he was in town and in the latter part of her life she drank it daily. Sometimes we would steal Grandpa's Fresca's, but she never tattled on us. (See I told you we were spoiled.)

Grandma was also a tour guide by choice, You never knew where she was going to take you when you came to visit her. Especially during Spring Break. Grandma would always make it special for Abe since his birthday fell during that time. Sometimes we would just watch the Broncos or the Rockies if the seasons were right; other times if the weather was nice, we were always guaranteed an opportunity to go to Wash Park or another parks nearby. We would also go on adventures to the Denver Mint, the Museum of Nature and Science (where Lauren will always remember the Brontosaurus ring Grandma gave her as a young girl.), Buffalo Bills Grave site, Elitches or any of the other fun attractions that the Denver area offered. Afterwards, Grandma would take us to Blockbuster and let us pick out a couple movies or build forts in basements to protect us from Lauren. We had to be careful what we said, Grandma had a quick wit and she'd get you if you weren't paying close enough attention.

The best memories were sharing coffee (Wild Cherry Pepsi for Cole) late in the afternoon or early evening while listening to Grandma tell about Missouri while the locust would chirp in the background. She would tell us about her and her siblings being buried in a hole up to her neck so they wouldn't wander off during harvest until they were old enough to help. Then when she was old enough to help her main responsibility was to bring water out to the men in the fields. This doesn’t sound unusual for a kid on the farm but Grandma would do it barefoot; which sounds so unlike her as later in life she was so ticklish she would never go barefoot.

If it wasn't stories about the farm life back in Missouri, Grandma would share stories of what our parents did as kids or (cough loudly) when they were arrested on their graduation night. Some of the best stories were about our family history and where they came from back in Germany. One of the highlights of her life was having the opportunity to visit Germany when her daughter Nancy and her husband Douglas were stationed in Stuttgart. If it wouldn’t hurt Douglas’ feelings so; we would tell of the time he got stuck in a ditch and Grandma had to use the German she learned as a child to ask for assistance from a local farmer. Lauren remembers standing on Grandmas size 9 feet while we all got out of the car so they could pull it back on the road since she had left her shoes in the car and the pavement was burning hot!

Sophia invested so much of herself into the lives of her Grandchildren. It didn’t matter if you lived down the street from her or on the other side of the world.

Grandma utilized her oldest Grandson Joshua as her personal chauffer. See she didn’t drive until she was well over the age of 60 so long trips were not in her comfort zone. This allowed for Josh to take her to and from Missouri or down to Lamar or Calhan. She would enjoy visits down to Josh and Amy’s house on the Eastern plains of Colorado in the town of Ellicott.

There was a unique and special bond between Lauren and Sophia. One that started from the first few weeks of Lauren’s life when Douglas (Lauren’s father) would be deployed to Turkey and Nancy, Joshua and Lauren would move to Denver while he was overseas. Sharing a room with Grandma would become a theme of their lives. Every morning Grandma would wake up for work and get ready and part of that routine included changing Lauren and handing her off to Nancy. Years later when the Murray’s retired from the Air Force; they found themselves again living with John and Sophia. Lauren remembers her choice of accommodations were either the rollaway bed by the hot water heater in the basement or to share a bed with Grandma. The wisest choice ever made by Lauren was to choose to share a room with Grandma. Even though she was in 8th grade; hearing farm stories or life memories from Grandma are treasures she holds on to this day.

Grandma Sophia was the wisest person Lauren has ever known. She made it very clear at the beginning of Lauren and Jeffrey’s engagement that it was important to have both sides of the family do family dinners and life together; and to this day whenever a holiday comes up it is shared with both sides of our families. Thank you Grandma.

Being the youngest Murray meant that Jacob was probably more spoiled than Joshua or Lauren; but that’s okay. Looking back over 30 plus years one of the fondest memories for “Jake” is the one Christmas when Grandma bought Cole, Abe and himself a game console that had a ton of games preloaded on to it. Jacob remembers spending the rest of Christmas playing on it and he said that Grandma was blown away that this gift was such a huge hit. Grandma loved to play games with us and was never merciful when it came to UNO; she would store up and give you back to back draw fours or skips.

Never was there a more proud Grandmother than Sophia. She was so proud of Cole for not only graduating from UNC but for stepping up and answering the call of duty to our Nation serving in the ARMY. I think it is safe to say that she rested easier knowing that he has (FINALLY) found a wonderful woman to share his life with and to make a home with. Kayla and Collin are a welcomed addition to the family and Grandma was happy to have every visit she could with them.

It didn’t matter what you put your hand to as long as you; first love what you did and secondly worked at it with all you had. That is why when Abe went to school for diesel mechanics she supported him with her whole heart and then even more recently as he has switched to schooling as an electrician she was quick to ask questions and know why you loved what you loved. She was so excited to see what new adventures awaited Abe.

Being an older cousin; Lauren remembers the first time Grandma held Kiegan. She held her like she had been given a treasure straight from heaven. Kiegan was a sweet granddaughter and every opportunity Sophia had to spend with her Granddaughter she would jump at the opportunity. From Easter egg hunts at the local golf course to trips to the Denver Zoo. Tragically Kiegan would leave our family way too soon but there is not a doubt in our hearts or minds that they have been reunited and await for the rest of us.

Sophia wasn’t just a wonderful Grandmother; she was also blessed to know and be a part of her Great Grandchildren’s lives. She was so proud to not only see her children grow and establish their homes and lives but also her grandchildren where her great grandchildren would be raised.

In the last weeks of her life her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren would come from near and far just to spend more time with her. It was special to see her eyes light up as she would perk up at the mention of Cole and Kayla going to grab fried chicken. Or when Matthew was have a particularly long day of home school and he thought he would try and see if Grandma would be willing to help him with his homework; much to his surprise she took his worksheet and started to work on it. Claire still giggles when she thinks back to writing a friend a letter but not wanting to lick the glue on the envelope; she went to Great Grandma and asked her to lick it for her. Claire really didn’t know or think Grandma would lick it but to her amusement Grandma gladly obliged her. See this is who Grandma was; selfless, loving and humble. As most people age and especially surpass their 90’s they slow down and don’t take pleasure in the things they once did; but not Grandma…Okay well she did walk a little slower but she still was quick to offer advice, or suggest how to prune the roses or to tell how she made cookies or hand quilted. She still loved people; especially kids. Up until her last days she still laughed at and with the kids. That is a gift and a memory worth more than gold.

She was loved by all and will be missed daily. We can't wait to see her again in the Kingdom of Heaven. Until then.

Services

  • Graveside Service

    Friday, 18 June , 2021

Memories

Sophia Helen (Moeller) Estes

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From the Family

Sophia H Estes
April 30, 1927-May 22, 2021

From the Family

Poor Sophia snagged her wedding dress walking into the church.

From the Family

Married John W. Estes December 4, 1948

From the Family

With the help from friends Sophia was able to make her own wedding dress.

From the Family

The beginning of a new life.

From the Family

Like many wedding receptions John and Sophia hosted their guests with home cooked food furnished by both families.

From the Family

Samuel United Church of Christ, Clayton, MO.

From the Family

John and Sophia were never afraid of hard work.

From the Family
From the Family

This is the look of love

From the Family

Sophia H Estes
April 30, 1927-May 22, 2021

From the Family

Poor Sophia snagged her wedding dress walking into the church.

From the Family

Married John W. Estes December 4, 1948

From the Family

With the help from friends Sophia was able to make her own wedding dress.

From the Family

The beginning of a new life.

From the Family

Like many wedding receptions John and Sophia hosted their guests with home cooked food furnished by both families.

From the Family

Samuel United Church of Christ, Clayton, MO.

From the Family

John and Sophia were never afraid of hard work.

From the Family
From the Family

This is the look of love

Biography

A brief regaling of the life and times of Grandma Sophia Estes as seen through the eyes of her Grandchildren:

Sophia Helena (Moeller) Estes was born April 30th, 1927, in Owensville, Gasconade County, Missouri, to Henry Frederick Moeller, 37 and Willamina “Minnie” Schlottach, 39. She passed away on May 22nd, 2021, in Denver, Colorado, and will be laid to rest at Chapel Hill Cemetery, Centennial, CO.

Sophia was preceded in death by her parents; husband John W. Estes Jr., son Steven Estes, siblings Hilda Moeller, Friedrich Moeller, Frieda Hilkerbaumer, granddaughter Kiegan Estes, and brother-in-law Herbert Hilkerbaumer. She is survived by her daughter Nancy and son-in-law Douglas Murray of Centennial, CO and son Mark Estes, of Colorado Springs, CO. Grandchildren: Joshua and Amy Murray, Lauren and Jeffrey Danforth, Jacob Murray, Cole and Kayla Estes, Abraham Estes and five great-grandchildren: Tyler and Mikayla Murray, Collin Estes and Matthew and Claire Danforth and many bonus family members.

Sophia grew up on a farm in Owensville, Mo with her mother, siblings and Great Grandparents. Her father passed away when she was 11 months old from blood poising. Like many of her generation Sophia grew up strong; with faith and country as her guide. She attended school in a one room school house and wouldn’t have electricity on the family farm till she was a senior in high school. Her mother and sister Frieda had many difficulties with Tuberculosis and would be in and out of sanitariums leaving Sophia to care and raise herself with the guidance of Grandparents.

One of the funniest things about growing up on a farm with lots of family involved in your upbringing is that when it came time for Grandma to learn how to spell her name Aunts would teach her the way they thought her name should be spelled; not the way it was on her birth certificate: thus a lifetime of sorting out is her name Sophie or Sophia, Helen or Helena? To set the record straight her birth certificate stated Sophie Helena.

Sophia would graduate High School in 1945. As this was the end of WW2 and many young men were off fighting for their country there weren’t many beau’s to be found in a small farm town. However because of a blind date set up by friends Sophia Moeller would meet and on December 4th, 1948 she would marry John W. Estes Jr. They made their first home in Saint Louis, Mo. When Grandma was courting Grandpa; he told her that he had many different health concerns and that by marring him she would have to care for his different needs. Sophia being the hearty farm girl willingly and lovingly accepted and would gladly care for him in sickness and in health. What a legacy of love and care she has passed down to her children and grandchildren (even her great grandchildren.)

Nancy was born to John and Sophia in 1952 and Steven would join the family 1955 and Mark in 1957. Around 1960 John and Sophia moved from Saint Louis, MO to Pueblo, CO. John was transferred with the Missouri Pacific Railroad. They would move up to the Denver neighborhood of Washington Park in Denver, CO in 1964 where they would resided until moving to Centennial, CO in 1997.

Sophia worked in the insurance industry as an executive secretary where she would proof read insurance applications and policies. She was proficient in her industry and an asset to her employers. Douglas would always say that Sophia had such confidence that she would do the crossword puzzle in ink!

Sophia also took her role as mother to be one of her greatest joys and accomplishments. She was a firm but loving mother to Nancy, Steven and Mark. Instilling work ethics in her children meant that they would work alongside her in the kitchen, yard and home. Sophia not only taught her daughter to cook she passed on the love of feeding people on to her granddaughter Lauren who now loves to cook for her family and small Armies.

After Sophia retired from Travelers Insurance she would join a quilting group that made blankets for single mothers and their children and would volunteer helping at a local food banks. She was very involved in her church when her health and independence allowed her to so; from bible studies to youth fundraisers. She will be missed by many of her Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit friends.

Spending time with grandma was always a special cherished time. Spoiled? Probably, however we loved every moment of it and it was always an amazing time spent at Grandma’s house. Sometimes I feel grandma was spoiled too....

Grandma loved making fried chicken for everyone and everyone raved about how amazing her fried chicken was!! The best part was she didn't serve us okra!! (Unless of course you were having dinner to meet future in-laws like Douglas did; then you were served okra.). Grandma made the best fried eggs as well; which is funny because she hated eggs. Jacob would argue that Grandma’s best meal was meatloaf as she often had to make one just for him; although I’m sure her children and Lauren would agree that Grandma made the best pot roast ever. Cousins would eat their eggs with ketchup, yet everyone got a little bit of whatever they wanted and that's how Grandma showed her love towards us…by being a short order cook. It seems like everyone has a food story of Grandma and we would be remised to not mention the time when she made a requested strawberry rhubarb pie. The only problem is; she forgot the sugar! Being the kind and loving children and grandchildren that we are…we never let her forget it! Grandma would go on a special grocery shopping trips for Wild Cherry Pepsi for Cole when he was in town and in the latter part of her life she drank it daily. Sometimes we would steal Grandpa's Fresca's, but she never tattled on us. (See I told you we were spoiled.)

Grandma was also a tour guide by choice, You never knew where she was going to take you when you came to visit her. Especially during Spring Break. Grandma would always make it special for Abe since his birthday fell during that time. Sometimes we would just watch the Broncos or the Rockies if the seasons were right; other times if the weather was nice, we were always guaranteed an opportunity to go to Wash Park or another parks nearby. We would also go on adventures to the Denver Mint, the Museum of Nature and Science (where Lauren will always remember the Brontosaurus ring Grandma gave her as a young girl.), Buffalo Bills Grave site, Elitches or any of the other fun attractions that the Denver area offered. Afterwards, Grandma would take us to Blockbuster and let us pick out a couple movies or build forts in basements to protect us from Lauren. We had to be careful what we said, Grandma had a quick wit and she'd get you if you weren't paying close enough attention.

The best memories were sharing coffee (Wild Cherry Pepsi for Cole) late in the afternoon or early evening while listening to Grandma tell about Missouri while the locust would chirp in the background. She would tell us about her and her siblings being buried in a hole up to her neck so they wouldn't wander off during harvest until they were old enough to help. Then when she was old enough to help her main responsibility was to bring water out to the men in the fields. This doesn’t sound unusual for a kid on the farm but Grandma would do it barefoot; which sounds so unlike her as later in life she was so ticklish she would never go barefoot.

If it wasn't stories about the farm life back in Missouri, Grandma would share stories of what our parents did as kids or (cough loudly) when they were arrested on their graduation night. Some of the best stories were about our family history and where they came from back in Germany. One of the highlights of her life was having the opportunity to visit Germany when her daughter Nancy and her husband Douglas were stationed in Stuttgart. If it wouldn’t hurt Douglas’ feelings so; we would tell of the time he got stuck in a ditch and Grandma had to use the German she learned as a child to ask for assistance from a local farmer. Lauren remembers standing on Grandmas size 9 feet while we all got out of the car so they could pull it back on the road since she had left her shoes in the car and the pavement was burning hot!

Sophia invested so much of herself into the lives of her Grandchildren. It didn’t matter if you lived down the street from her or on the other side of the world.

Grandma utilized her oldest Grandson Joshua as her personal chauffer. See she didn’t drive until she was well over the age of 60 so long trips were not in her comfort zone. This allowed for Josh to take her to and from Missouri or down to Lamar or Calhan. She would enjoy visits down to Josh and Amy’s house on the Eastern plains of Colorado in the town of Ellicott.

There was a unique and special bond between Lauren and Sophia. One that started from the first few weeks of Lauren’s life when Douglas (Lauren’s father) would be deployed to Turkey and Nancy, Joshua and Lauren would move to Denver while he was overseas. Sharing a room with Grandma would become a theme of their lives. Every morning Grandma would wake up for work and get ready and part of that routine included changing Lauren and handing her off to Nancy. Years later when the Murray’s retired from the Air Force; they found themselves again living with John and Sophia. Lauren remembers her choice of accommodations were either the rollaway bed by the hot water heater in the basement or to share a bed with Grandma. The wisest choice ever made by Lauren was to choose to share a room with Grandma. Even though she was in 8th grade; hearing farm stories or life memories from Grandma are treasures she holds on to this day.

Grandma Sophia was the wisest person Lauren has ever known. She made it very clear at the beginning of Lauren and Jeffrey’s engagement that it was important to have both sides of the family do family dinners and life together; and to this day whenever a holiday comes up it is shared with both sides of our families. Thank you Grandma.

Being the youngest Murray meant that Jacob was probably more spoiled than Joshua or Lauren; but that’s okay. Looking back over 30 plus years one of the fondest memories for “Jake” is the one Christmas when Grandma bought Cole, Abe and himself a game console that had a ton of games preloaded on to it. Jacob remembers spending the rest of Christmas playing on it and he said that Grandma was blown away that this gift was such a huge hit. Grandma loved to play games with us and was never merciful when it came to UNO; she would store up and give you back to back draw fours or skips.

Never was there a more proud Grandmother than Sophia. She was so proud of Cole for not only graduating from UNC but for stepping up and answering the call of duty to our Nation serving in the ARMY. I think it is safe to say that she rested easier knowing that he has (FINALLY) found a wonderful woman to share his life with and to make a home with. Kayla and Collin are a welcomed addition to the family and Grandma was happy to have every visit she could with them.

It didn’t matter what you put your hand to as long as you; first love what you did and secondly worked at it with all you had. That is why when Abe went to school for diesel mechanics she supported him with her whole heart and then even more recently as he has switched to schooling as an electrician she was quick to ask questions and know why you loved what you loved. She was so excited to see what new adventures awaited Abe.

Being an older cousin; Lauren remembers the first time Grandma held Kiegan. She held her like she had been given a treasure straight from heaven. Kiegan was a sweet granddaughter and every opportunity Sophia had to spend with her Granddaughter she would jump at the opportunity. From Easter egg hunts at the local golf course to trips to the Denver Zoo. Tragically Kiegan would leave our family way too soon but there is not a doubt in our hearts or minds that they have been reunited and await for the rest of us.

Sophia wasn’t just a wonderful Grandmother; she was also blessed to know and be a part of her Great Grandchildren’s lives. She was so proud to not only see her children grow and establish their homes and lives but also her grandchildren where her great grandchildren would be raised.

In the last weeks of her life her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren would come from near and far just to spend more time with her. It was special to see her eyes light up as she would perk up at the mention of Cole and Kayla going to grab fried chicken. Or when Matthew was have a particularly long day of home school and he thought he would try and see if Grandma would be willing to help him with his homework; much to his surprise she took his worksheet and started to work on it. Claire still giggles when she thinks back to writing a friend a letter but not wanting to lick the glue on the envelope; she went to Great Grandma and asked her to lick it for her. Claire really didn’t know or think Grandma would lick it but to her amusement Grandma gladly obliged her. See this is who Grandma was; selfless, loving and humble. As most people age and especially surpass their 90’s they slow down and don’t take pleasure in the things they once did; but not Grandma…Okay well she did walk a little slower but she still was quick to offer advice, or suggest how to prune the roses or to tell how she made cookies or hand quilted. She still loved people; especially kids. Up until her last days she still laughed at and with the kids. That is a gift and a memory worth more than gold.

She was loved by all and will be missed daily. We can't wait to see her again in the Kingdom of Heaven. Until then.