Esther Nicolene Hughes, 95, Woodstock, died April 26, 2013, at Hearthstone Communities, Woodstock.
She was born July 24, 1917, in Culbertson, Mont. to Anton and Martha (Larsen) Hansen, on the family homestead. Her family moved to Woodstock and she started first grade speaking only Danish. She credited her first-grade teacher for spending extra time with her so she could learn English. She was proud of her Danish and American heritage. As a teenager, she lived in Chicago with relatives, as a companion to their children.
She worked at Woodstock Auto-Lite for 33 years, retiring in 1980. She enjoyed history, recounting great stories of her family’s ancestry and spending time with her family, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and many friends. She was a people person with a warm and loving heart and a great attitude about life. She always had coffee and rolls ready and a door always open. No one ever arrived at or left her door without receiving a hug. She will be missed by many.
Survivors include five daughters, Barbara J. (Richard Sweeney) Murray, Linida S. (Tom Wozniewski) Hendle, Sherry (Dennis) Dixon, Donna Kimball, Cynthia (Daniel) Mizzen; a son, Wayne A. (Barbara) Japp; nine grandchildren, Michael T. (Jennifer Johnson) Murray Jr., Marcia (James) Kalisik, Alicia (Robert) Wilson, Jennifer (David) Goldfein, Sean M. Rowe, Douglas Dixon, Ryan (Tara) Weis, Jeanne (Ken) Finley Neal and Georgia (Michael Wellman) Finley; 14 great-grandchildren, Matthew Weidner, Tess E. Wilson, Dainen Rowe, Jacob Kalisik, Joseph Wilson, Bobbie Jean Neal, Paige Elise Brown, Julian Dixon, Parker Dixon, Liam Weis, Harlyn Weis, Annabelle Rowe and Shoshana Goldfein and Sabrina Goldfein; two sisters, Arleen Hutson and Alice Schillberg, two sisters-in-law, Marjorie Hansen and Wanda (Gene) Chance; a brother-in-law, William (Barbara) Hughes; a godchild and niece, Patricia M. Redman; a niece, Linda Goad; and many other nieces, nephews and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents; a brother, Clarence Hansen; and three husbands, August J. Japp, William Wurtzinger and Harold D. Hughes.
Her family thanks Doris Zank and Audrey Meyer for their friendship, laughter, good times and thoughtful care.
Visitation and the funeral were April 29 at Grace Lutheran Church, Woodstock.
Interment followed at Oakland Cemetery, Woodstock.
Memorials can be sent to Grace Lutheran Church, 1300 Kishwaukee Valley Road, Woodstock, IL 60098, or to a charity of the donor’s choice.
Arrangements were made by Schneider-Leucht-Merwin & Cooney Funeral Home, Woodstock.