OBITUARY

Esther Turner

September 16, 1932October 12, 2020
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Esther M. Turner died peacefully Monday, October 12, 2020 at 8:12am.

She was born September 16, 1932 to Emil and Martha Albrecht on a farm in Staunton Illinois. She grew up with three brothers, Robert, Richard, and Emil in a simple house with no electricity and no plumbing. Esther began grade school in a one-room schoolhouse on the family farm, and went on to graduate from Barnes Nursing School in 1953. That same year she married Lewis John Turner, Jr. They bought a house in Shrewsbury Missouri and raised four children together. In 1966, they moved to Webster Groves where Esther lived until her death.

Esther was a loving mother to Lewis John, Patricia (Jerry), Michael, and Holly; grandmother to Todd (Liza), Elaine (Adam), Eric, Noel, Merri, and Casey; great-grandmother to Lillian, Georgia, and Hazel. She is survived by her brother Emil and his wife, Maryann, and a sister-in-law Mary Ann. Preceding her in death were her husband, Lewis, her brothers, Robert and Richard, grandchildren, Doug and Christie, and daughter-in-law, Gina.

She was much loved by Robert Kersulov, Colette Schmidt, Carolyn Schaefermeyer, and her many nieces, nephews, co-workers, friends, and neighbors.

Esther was dedicated to her career as a nurse. After getting her Bachelors Degree, she ran the Cardiac Cath Lab at St. Mary's and later, Deaconess Hospitals until her retirement. After retirement, Lewis and she traveled and spent time with their family and friends. Esther loved gardening, sewing, crocheting, and cooking. She was pretty amazing. She was adored and cherished by all.

Visitation will be at Hoffmeister Colonial Mortuary 6464 Chippewa 63109 on Saturday, October 24, 2020 from 9 to 11am, with a Celebration of Esther's Life to commence at 11am. Interment with her husband, Lewis, will take place immediately after the service at Lakewood Cemetery in Affton Missouri.

In lieu of flowers, contributions to Melanoma Research Alliance in Esther's memory are greatly appreciated.

Please leave a favorite memory of Esther for her family to cherish at the "Add a Memory" link below.

Services

  • Visitation - Saturday

    Saturday, October 24, 2020

  • A Celebration of Esther's Life - Saturday

    Saturday, October 24, 2020

  • Committal Service - Saturday

    Saturday, October 24, 2020

Memories

Esther Turner

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Linda Dickey

October 19, 2020

I met Esther in 2007 at the YMVA in Webster Groves. We were in water aerobics class together. After the Y closed we continued to get together with the rest of the class for an occasional lunch. Esther was one of the sweetest people I have ever known. She was a caring and good friend.I will miss her and her beautiful smile. Her family has my deepest sympathy.

Dave Sorrell

October 14, 2020

I remember that Ester and my mom (Betty Sorrell) went to nursing school together. They became close friends. As a result of them keeping in touch, our families would get together several times a year, but especially so at 4th of July. BBQ, homemade ice cream, fireworks, then hide and seek for us kids. Those were some fun times. I don't remember the last time our families got together.
I'm sorry for your loss. May God's grace give you peace and comfort.

Diane Sorrell Melson

October 14, 2020

I have so many memories from when we were kids with your mom and dad. All the Fourth of July’s at our house and making home made ice cream 🍨 and shooting off fireworks. Your mother and my mother Betty went to nursing school together. I am so sorry for your loss.

Diane Sorrell Melson

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Biography

Esther Martha Turner, née Albrecht (1932-2020)

Born in a farmhouse without running water or electricity, Esther Albrecht was the only girl in her family. As she grew up, being the only girl gave her special privileges like being the first one to use the bath water on Saturday night. Her mother taught her how to sew flour sack dresses on a pedal sewing machine. The patterns were created from sketches her mother and her made after seeing dresses in the windows of shops in town. Her mother taught her to cook, to garden and to bake. She also taught her how to ring the necks of chickens! Being a farmer’s daughter wasn’t glamorous. But in the photos of Esther as a young woman, she looks like a movie star. When she wasn’t working at the house with her mother, she was tending the fields with her brothers. Her childhood on the farm cultivated a resilience and sense determination that would bring her personal and professional success.

On the farm, she helped her German father care for wounded animals. So, it should have been no surprise to him when she asked to go to nursing school. He was unsure about sending his only daughter to the big city. He asked her which nursing school was best. She replied, Washington University School of Nursing. As she would tell the story, she wasn’t sure what happened, but her father had drinks at the tavern with the high school principle and she was enrolled at Wash U.

Suddenly, this small-town girl, who went to a one-room schoolhouse, was in nursing school. It was here that Esther blossomed. She developed a tremendous capacity for nursing and fostered friendships with her peers. She remained close to her dear friend Shirley until the end of her life. She was at Wash U during an interesting time for the medical community: Master and Johnson were performing scandalous research at the hospital. Esther and her classmates would go out for drinks to gossip and to speculate on what they were doing.

In St. Louis, she had support from her maternal family in Soulard. Esther had promised her father that if he let her go to St Louis to pursue a career, she would graduate from school and wouldn’t marry until she was 21. But her aunt’s husband had a humorous and handsome nephew, Lew. When Esther’s grandfather, gross papa, passed away, Lew was at the funeral. As they sat in the choir loft, Lew saw Esther for the first time. It was love at first sight, and he said he immediately knew she was the woman he wanted to marry. On the 12th of September 1953 she graduated from nursing school. On the 16th of September she turned 21. And on the 22nd of September she married Lew Turner. The marriage lasted over 50 years and produced four children, eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Starting in 1960, Esther worked swing shift in the ICU at St Mary’s. Sunday nights were spent applying white polish to her nursing shoes. Though she didn’t discuss her work much, she undoubtedly saved thousands of lives. When she wasn’t working at the hospital, she was working at home: She cared for children, kept house, sewed clothes, and cooked a spread every night. She lived on little sleep.

In 1974, she became the Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at St. Mary’s. Esther was ecstatic not to work nights. But the new position involved a host of responsibilities: Esther was in charge of scheduling procedures, ordering supplies, meeting with pharmaceutical representatives, and ensuring that surgeries had been correctly prepped. In 1978, Esther graduated from the University of St. Francis with her bachelor’s degree. With her R.N. Esther had become the first Albrecht woman to receive a degree—she now had two. Her farm-girl determination had paid off. In 1987, Esther started a cardiac catheterization lab at Deaconess Hospital. In 1998, after four decades of nursing, Esther retired.

In retirement, Esther and Lew traveled around Europe and the United States. They enjoyed spending time with their grandchildren—Todd, Elaine, Doug, Eric, Noel, Casey, and Merri—and their friends from church and the Masonic temple. After Lew’s death in 2005, Esther fully embraced life: She had lunch with her girlfriends, enjoyed aquatics classes at the YMCA, and took in shows at the Fox Theater. She spent time with her family, read books on her Kindle, and kept up with the trends. She relished her iPhone, her Keurig, and her Amazon Firestick. Esther refused to live in the past: When asked what she thought of Fifty Shades of Grey, she responded that she found the series repetitive.

In the final years of her life, Esther texted with her grandchildren and exchanged letters with her friends. Her stamina and will to live amazed all of us. She lived every day to its fullest and never turned down a good time. As we reached out to her friends, they told us repeatedly how much they enjoyed Esther’s dry wit and her company. Each had stories about how Esther’s kindness and care had touched their lives.

Esther was a remarkable woman. Her accomplishments are many. The world is a better place for having Esther in it.

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