My Amazing Great Grandma
To send flowers in memory of Esther Marie Wilson, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
By Camille Thelen, April 2019
I was lying in bed, I think of my great grandma, and I thought to myself “I am so lucky to have Grandma Esther as a great grandma.” I am lucky to have Grandma Esther because she is amazing, gives interesting facts and is a bright light.
To begin with, Grandma Esther is amazing. For example, she makes me laugh. She enjoys having me around. She also has a good sense of humor.
Additionally, my great grandma tells me interesting facts about her life. Reasons are, she worked in the rodeo, she had 12 brothers and sisters, and she helped build airplanes during World War II.
Last but not least, Grandma Esther is a very bright light. For example, she is a role model. I will always want to walk in her tracks.
I am lucky to have a great grandma who is amazing, gives interesting facts, and is a bright light. It is a big blessing to have grandma Esther still alive at the age of 101 years.
Esther Marie (Korkow) Wilson passed into Eternal Life on All Souls Day, Nov. 2, after hearing the prayers of Final Commendation pronounced by Fr. Jaimon Dominic. The day was significant too as it was the 103rd anniversary of Esther’s husband Fred’s birth, and the First Saturday of the month.
Esther was born on March 12, 1918, in Wishiek, North Dakota to Lucy Lizbeth (Cory) and Otto Herman Korkow. Esther was the sixth of 13 children born to Lucy and Otto, and the last surviving of her siblings. The family moved to South Dakota in 1920, where Esther grew up and where seven of her siblings were born.
Esther graduated from high school at Canning, South Dakota, in 1936, attended college at Aberdeen, South Dakota., then taught in rural, one-room schoolhouses in South Dakota for six years.
Esther met her husband Fred E. Wilson when Fred served in the Civilian Conservation Corps at Farm Island, near Pierre, South Dakota. Fred and Esther were the first couple to be married in the newly constructed Saints Peter and Paul Church in Pierre, South Dakota, on April 30, 1941, by Father Paul McGuire.
Fred served in the Army during World War II and Esther served as a “Rosie the Riveter,” installing and repairing the electronics on B-17 and B-29 bombers at the Continental Airlines facility in Denver, Colo. In 1946 the Korkow family migration from South Dakota to Laramie, Wyoming, commenced first with sister Leona and her husband Carol Payne. The remaining four Korkow girls and their families were to follow. At one point, St. Laurence O’Toole School in Laramie was populated by 10 of the Korkow girls’ 13 children.
During Fred’s military service, Esther and Fred lived in Sparta, Wisconsin, Igloo, South Dakota, and Frankfurt, West Germany in the Army of Occupation following World War II.
After returning to Laramie, Esther served as the bookkeeper and manager of Fred’s refrigeration business and raised their five children. Esther was active in the St. Laurence O’Toole Altar & Rosary Society and served as president of the Cheyenne Deanery. Fred and Esther made their home in Laramie from 1953 to 1992. Esther was known in the family as the “gourmet” cook. While the other sisters were great cooks, they all thought Esther took it to the next level with her seasonings and preparations. Esther credited their time in West Germany as making her a more adventurous cook.
After their retirement, Esther and Fred moved to their daughter Patty and her husband Art Thelen’s home in Las Vegas for four years, then moved to their daughter Mary’s home in Dallas, Texas. In Texas, Esther and Fred were both active in the Legion of Mary and pro-life causes. Following Fred’s death in 2003, Mary and Esther returned to Wyoming in 2004 where they lived in Rawlins, then Salt Lake City, Utah, returning to Cheyenne in 2009.
In her final years, Esther continued to enjoy reading and watching and praying with Eternal Word Television Network.
Esther was preceded in death by her husband Fred; parents, Lucy and Otto; all of her siblings and their spouses, Herman Korkow, Donald Korkow, Clarence Korkow, Edward Korkow, Louis (Renetta) Korkow, Ervin (LaFola) Korkow, Agnes (Al) Wotowey Croco (and Joseph Croco), Adeline (Dude) Sorenson Zerbo (and Joe Zerbo), Leona (Carol) Payne, Ruth (Leonard) Taylor, Arnold (Ruth) Korkow, and Robert (Mary Lou) Korkow; a nephew Craig Korkow; her grandson Brian Arthur Thelen, and great grandson Christian Brian Thelen.
Esther is survived by her children, Roger Wilson, of Ellensburg, Washington, Steve Wilson, Centennial, Wyoming, Patty (Art) Thelen, Pottsboro, Texas, Mary Wilson, Cheyenne, and Richard (Jenifer)Wilson, Ft. Morgan, Colorado; grandchildren, Michelle (Russ) Mitchell, Pottsboro, Texas, Christopher (Carrie) Thelen, Little Elm, Texas, Richard E. Wilson, Fort Morgan, Colorado ,Tiffany (Michael) Keesey, Arvada, Colorado, Jeff Jorgenson, Atlanta, Georgia, Eric Wilson, Bellingham, Washington; three great-granddaughters, Celeste, Camille and Cora Thelen; and many nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews and great-great nieces and nephews, all of whom Esther loved dearly.
A Vigil for the Deceased will be held on Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral. A Funeral Liturgy will be celebrated on Friday, November 8th at 10:00 a.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral. Interment will take place in Greenhill Cemetery, Laramie, Wyoming.