Esther Louise Embree

September 8, 1928July 2, 2019

Esther Louise (Corson) EMBREE Born September 8, 1928, entered heaven July 2, 2019 She was born Esther Louise Corson, just before the great depression, to Harmon and Edith Corson, and was raised in a genuinely Christian home in Modesto, CA. She made her own decision to follow Jesus at only four years of age, but it was with a deep repentance that she never forgot. After attending Modesto High School and a year of MJC she completed her degree at Seattle Pacific College in 1948. She met her husband there – Paul Embree, and they were married after his first two years of medical school. They started their married life in Montreal Canada, where he received his MD from McGill University and their first child David was born. Martha was born 20 months later in Fresno. Besides being committed to each other and their children, their very highest allegiance was to the Lord, and He led them into overseas medical missions, starting in Southern Rhodesia in 1955. Their last child Ruth was born six weeks after they arrived at Chikombedzi Mission, delivered by a missionary nurse. Esther provided the home support so Paul could give himself wholly to his work. She home-schooled their three children, opened their home to innumerable travelers and missionaries on their remote mission station, kept the hospital books, and made countless “ambulance” runs to remote villages in the mission land rover to bring in patients. And she wrote weekly letters home to her parents, which would later provide the basis for her three books about their years of missionary service. In 1969 God led them to a mission hospital in the Republic of South Africa, on a Bantustan during the apartheid years. They had three teenagers of their own at that point, but invited a fourth, Dan Flory, the son of family friends to come to Africa for a year, so they became a family of six. The next year with their own son returning to America for college, they invited another friend, a teen-aged young lady Marilee Blews to join their daughters, so the house stayed full.

In 1971 they moved back to the States and settled in Modesto so they could be closer to their children during college. She and Paul were youth sponsors in the Modesto Free Methodist Church – the church she had grown up in. She led a women’s Bible Study for many years, and then taught an adult Sunday School class until her late 80’s. Their home was always open, to friends and family alike, and she put on SO many company meals. She also had a ministry in writing letters and notes of encouragement. Her inner peace and joy were contagious to those around her.

Although she enjoyed excellent health throughout her life, the last three years were difficult after surgery for advanced cancer. She was not expected to survive post-operative complications in June 2016, but requested special prayer which was done, and God miraculously answered, granting her three more years. In that time she was able to see her first two books published, write a third, and contribute to yet another collaborative work of family stories.

Her wish to be able to die at home was made possible with the support of Community Hospice, which her husband Paul was involved in founding many years ago while he was on staff with Scenic General Hospital.

She is survived by her brother Robert Corson; Paul Embree, her husband of 69 years; her three children: David (Patty) Embree, Martha (Mike) Rorabaugh, and Ruth (David) Schale; her ten grandchildren: David Rorabaugh, Becky (Isaac) Von Wetzel, Beth (Micah) Schaafsma, Danny (Ariel) Rorabaugh, Stephen Schale, Christine (James) Black, Sarah Schale, Michael (Kayla) Embree, Paul (Rachael) Schale, and Julie (Joey) Partridge; and two great-granddaughters: Kaylee Autumn Von Wetzel, Zoe Esther Schaafsma, and she was delighted to know that another is expected in October. A memorial service for Esther will be held at 11:00 a.m. on July 13 at the Modesto Free Methodist Church, 1520 Rose Ave, Modesto, CA.


  • Graveside Service Saturday, July 13, 2019


Esther Louise Embree

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