November 27, 1925-June 3, 2015
Esther Bohn Groves of North Newton, Kansas, died Wednesday, June 3rd after a short illness and hospitalization. She was 89, and had moved from a Kidron Bethel Village apartment to KBV’s Healthcare in February 2014.
Esther was preceded in death by her sister Helen Bohn Klassen, husband Carlyle, younger son Quentin and brother Alden Bohn. She is survived by her daughter Debra Groves Bollinger and & son-in-law Rob Bollinger of Austin, Texas; her son Nathan Carlyle Groves and daughter-in-law Devasia McClain Groves of Liberal, Kansas; grandchildren Brent, Katherine, Arthur Groves and spouses and seven great-grandchildren.
Her surviving siblings are Catherine Bohn Hartman, Rev. Stanley Bohn, John Bohn and Eleanor Bohn Unruh.
Esther was born in Topeka, Indiana, the first of seven children from Rev. Ernest J. and Nora Lantz Bohn. She graduated from Bluffton College and met Carlyle Groves in Freeman, South Dakota where Esther was teaching English and Literature at Freeman Junior College and Carlyle was resuming his education under the G.I. Bill. They were married in 1951 and spent an extended honeymoon in voluntary service through the Mennonite Church.
Esther, Carlyle and Debra moved to Newton in 1957. They became members of Bethel College Mennonite Church and both Esther and Carlyle taught junior-high Sunday School there. Nathan and Quentin joined the family in the early 1960s.
During her children’s early school-years, Esther wrote Sunday-school
curricula for General Conference Mennonite Church as well as publishing a
variety of free-lance pieces in religious and other magazines.
When the family moved to Bo, Sierra Leone in 1972, Esther continued writing while home-schooling her two sons. Carlyle managed a literacy program and religious publishing house established by the Methodist Church. They returned in 1975, settling outside Turpin, Oklahoma.
For the next 16 years Esther worked as a staff writer and then Area Editor for the SOUTHWEST DAILY TIMES in Liberal, Kansas. She also regularly played the organ at Turpin Mennonite Church and arranged instrumental and choral music for Sunday-school students’ performances in services.
Following Carlyle’s death in 1991, Esther taught English and remedial writing at Seward County Community College for three years. She moved back to Newton on her retirement in 1994 and regularly published concert and play reviews plus various short articles and essays in the Newton KANSAN.
Besides writing, reading was a continual pleasure for Esther, and she almost always ‘had her nose in a book’ for most of her long and literary life.
A memorial service will take place on June 29th,11am at Bethel College Mennonite Church, North Newton, Kansas. Esther’s ashes will be interred in the church’s columbarium and also at Carlyle & Quentin’s grave in the Turpin Mennonite Church cemetery, Turpin, Oklahoma.
In lieu of flowers, donations in honor of KBV staff may be sent to: Esther Groves Memorial, Kidron Bethel Village, 3001 Ivy Court, North Newton, Kansas 67117. Petersenfamilyfuneralhome.com.