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Esther Theresa Wicks
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Obituary for Esther Theresa Wicks

Esther Theresa Wicks was born on November 22, 1913 in Polk County, Iowa and passed away February 18, 2018 in Story City, Iowa. She was raised with her four siblings on a number of farms rented by her parents in Story, Boone and Hardin Counties.

She started country school north of Blairsburg and went to high school in Randall, finishing in Shipley. When she was a senior, Esther was granted special permission to be a substitute teacher at a rural school for two weeks, standing in for her sister Carrie, who was recovering from a sprained ankle. That summer, she went to Cedar Falls and took the Normal course for rural school teachers and returned to the same school for her first official job.

In 1936, while teaching school at Harrison No. 8, west of Story City, Esther met Wallace Wicks. She taught through the fall term until Christmas vacation of 1937 and then resigned (because you couldn’t be married and teach in those days) just in time for their December 30 wedding. In January 1938, they returned from their honeymoon travels to the Wicks farmstead where Wallie farmed with his brother, Herman, for 25 years and where Esther lived until October 11, 2017.

On October 11, 1941, Esther and Wallie became parents to their only child, Betty Hope. When they discovered Betty was going to arrive, Esther recalled that it was the happiest moment of her life. They also considered themselves fortunate enough to take in foster children. When Betty was in fourth grade, they welcomed sisters Cherie and Theresa into the family for many years.

Children have always had a welcoming place with Esther, as many young (and now young-at-heart) friends and family members can confirm. Esther taught Bible School, Sunday School and even had a schoolroom set up in her basement, complete with desks and a blackboard. The farm was a paradise to hundreds and hundreds of kids. They came to explore, swing, build, pretend, do chores and hide. In the summer they balanced on the teeter totter, played in the well-equipped sandbox, sang songs and roasted marshmallows around the outdoor fireplace, walked down to the timber, tamed kitties and jumped around in the hay mow. In the winter, they played the marble game and Rummikub, learned to bake kringla and cinnamon rolls, sang songs and popped popcorn in the indoor fireplace, snuggled together with warmed irons at the foot of the bed, and listened fearfully as Esther told the tale of the Hobiyahs.

Esther held great stock in being a “good neighbor” and would do anything for her friends of all ages who lived on her road, and from town, church and miles away. In turn, she deeply appreciated the friendship and care they all provided to her for the 50 years since Wallie passed away. She was alone on the farm, but rarely lonely.

She traveled, quilted and baked. She reserved a special place for found dogs, many named with a nod to her Norwegian roots, including Tula, Yenta, Yenta II and Gutta. She had a casual manner that her garden loved. She encouraged creativity, even if it resulted in a mess. She was patient (unless she was driving to and from town). If she needed to discuss your behavior with her mother while you were in the room, she spoke Norwegian. She was opinionated and generous. She claimed to be both a pessimist and an optimist. She will be missed, but her spirit, memory and purpose live on in the many, many people who stopped at her kitchen table.

Esther is survived by her granddaughter Suzanne O’Brien (Michael), her grandson Jay Muckle (Barbara) and great grandchildren Harriet and Grey; special daughters Cherie Long (Larry), of Indianola, IA and Theresa Wig of Des Moines, IA and many beloved nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Tollif and Clara Holland; her siblings and their spouses, Carrie (Andy) Anderson, Tilman (Mavis) Holland, Erick (Sarah) Holland and Lovilla (Bill) Schindele; her husband, Wallace Wicks and her daughter, Betty Muckle.

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Previous Events





10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Immanuel Lutheran Church

604 Lafayette Ave.
Story City, IA 50248





11:00 AM - 11:45 AM
Immanuel Lutheran Church

604 Lafayette Ave.
Story City, IA 50248

Cemetery Details


Story City Municipal Cemetery

980 Grand Avenue
Story City, Iowa 50248


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