Esther L. (Guthrie) Holling Falk, of Monroe, WI went to be with the Lord on Thursday, September 10, 2020 after a several year struggle with dementia.
She was born January 16, 1924 in Mitchell, IN to Harvey & Cassie (Woods) Guthrie. Her father was a schoolteacher for 42 years and her mother a stay-at-home mom. She graduated from Mitchell High School and later, once she was engaged to Salvation Army Lt. Burton L. Holling, she attended the Salvation Army Training College in Chicago, Illinois and was commissioned as a Salvation Army officer by General Evangeline Booth.
Burt and Esther were married November 2, 1943 and served in the Salvation Army Corps in Indiana, Ironwood MI, Milwaukee, Green Bay and Kenosha, WI until mid-1957 when Burton was ordained as a minister in the Evangelical United Brethren Church, and they moved to Monroe, WI. They served the Bethel EUB Church in Monroe, Monticello EUB and New Glarus EUB churches for 11 years.
Shortly after arriving in Monroe, Esther enrolled and graduated from the Green County Teachers College and later earned a Bachelor of Education degree from Wisconsin State University – Platteville (as it was called then). She began her teaching career at Simmons School on Highway 69, teaching all 8 grades in a one room school. She went on to teach 5th grade at the old Lincoln school in Monroe, as well as teaching for a time at the school in Browntown.
With the merger of the Evangelical United Brethren and the Methodist denominations in 1968, the Hollings were appointed to Colfax, WI and Tainter United Methodist congregations and Esther taught 7th and 8th grade reading in the Menominee school system until Rev. Holling’s death in January 1975. After finishing out that school year in Menominee, Esther moved back to Monroe and that fall began teaching 3rd grade in the South Wayne school district and stayed until her retirement in 1986.
In July of 1977 Esther married Robert C. Falk, a Monroe area dairy farmer whom the Holling family had known since they moved to Monroe and met at the Bethel Church. He is such a special person to all of her children.
Esther was a gifted pianist, playing mostly by ear, sang in church choirs as well as directing the choir at the Tainter Church (outside of Colfax). She and her daughter Carol sang many duets over the years in the churches they served with Esther accompanying them on the piano so beautifully and with great feeling. She also led women’s groups, taught Sunday School class, as well as Bible studies, and Vacation Bible School.
She was an active charter member of the Alpha Delta Kappa (teaching sorority), was active in the Green County Teachers organization, Historic Monroe, the restoration of the Monroe Depot, and served as president of some of the above listed groups over the years. She also called on the sick and was happy to play piano for many visits to nursing homes or other groups.
Esther was a music lover and especially loved going to see live musical productions. She also liked traveling in the United States and abroad. She said one of the highlights of her life was going to the Holy Land and seeing where Jesus walked so long ago. She enjoyed time with friends and especially her family. She was so proud of her children, their spouses and her grandchildren.
Preceding Esther in death were her parents, her 7 siblings, 1st husband Reverend Burton Holling, nieces, and Bob’s parents, Bob’s daughter Evelyn (Butts) and son in law Brad Butts; also, brothers-in-law, Paul Matzke, Ted Falk, and Dave Burgett.
Surviving Esther are husband Bob Falk, her 3 children and their spouses: Carol and Terry Stamm of Murfreesboro, TN, Rev. David & Kathleen Holling of Sun Lakes, AZ and Robert and Janice Holling of Sun Prairie, WI, grandchildren Vaughn (Tiffany) Stamm, Craig Stamm, Matthew (Shannon) Holling, Heidi Holling, Matthew Prost, Andrew (Michelle) Prost, Elizabeth (Nick) Vaughan, 7 great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild, and nieces and nephews. She is also survived by husband Bob Falk’s children Carolyn (Brian) Bauman of Juda WI and Jeffrey (Katie) Falk of Monroe, WI with 6 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren on his side; also, Bob’s brothers Rev. Wesley (Bonnie)Falk, Ken Falk, sisters Hazel Matzke, Alice Miller, Carol Burgett and sister in law Lillian Falk.
Due to the pandemic, a private family service will be held at this time, with a celebration of life to be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Salvation Army of Dane County, 3030 Darbo Drive, Madison, WI 53714 or the Monroe United Methodist Church. The NEWCOMER FUNERAL HOME, Monroe, is assisting the family. Condolences may be shared at www.newcomerfuneralhome.net
Esther’s was a life well lived and she was a valuable part of the “greatest generation”. In the words of the old song: Now I belong to Jesus, Jesus belongs to me, not for the years of time alone, but for all Eternity.