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Esther Ruby Larsen Jenter

LOLO CREEK — Esther Ruby Larsen Jenter, 89, left us on Friday, March 12, 2010 and walked quietly the bright beautiful trail to join her husband Bill in heaven.

Esther loved and was devoted to Bill and their daughter Nancy. Esther was a good mother-in-law to son-in-law, Gerald Mininger, who helped Nancy take care of Esther until the end on Friday.

Esther was a wife, mother, daughter, wonderful friend and neighbor to countless people during her 89 years.

Esther was a middle child, born at her parent’s farm on Dec. 25, 1920, near Viborg, S.D., a Danish community. She was baptized at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Hurley and became a member of the church as well. Esther was very proud of her Danish heritage, and had traveled to Denmark in the 1970s to meet relatives on both sides of her family. She was accompanied by her daughter, Nancy and they both thoroughly enjoyed this trip of a lifetime.

Esther attended rural grade schools before graduating from Hurley High School in 1940, and later that same year she met the love of her life, Bill Jenter, when he asked her to ride the ferris wheel at the local carnival. Five years later, Bill and Esther were married on Sept. 15, 1945, in St. Paul, Minn., just two days after Bill was honorably discharged from the Army.

During her married life, she and Bill along with daughter, Nancy, lived on a farm near Parker, S.D., before moving to Montana in 1962. They had ranches near Arlee and Superior. Upon retirement in 1980, they bought a small acreage west of Lolo on Highway 12 near the confluence of Lolo Creek and Bear Creek, where they finally built their own retirement home and moved into it in June of 1986.

In South Dakota, and later in Montana, the Home Extension Club was an important part of Esther’s life. Adored daughter Nancy, born in South Dakota, also became a member of the Missoula Home Extension Club. Esther often hosted meetings at the home she and Bill built in 1986. Esther designed every detail of this, their dream retirement home, next to Bear Creek outside of Lolo.

In addition to the Denmark trip, Bill and Esther traveled the world, from the Panama Canal to Nova Scotia, Canada, from Seattle to San Diego and from New England to Philadelphia. With Nancy, Esther and Bill toured the South Seas from China and Japan to Bali and all points in between. Esther and Nancy also included in their travels 16 countries in Europe, Israel, Greece and Italy. They also found time for Hawaii, Jamaica, South America and a memorable trip to Cancun with good friend Paula Johnson.

Her family meant everything to her and family reunions were a very important part of Esther’s life, whether in South Dakota, or hosting them in the immaculately clean home in Montana, filled with the smells of fresh cookies, pies or cakes and Esther’s water colors, crewel work, needlepoint, candle wicking, cross stitch and her beautiful custom-made clothing.

The only job outside the home Esther ever had was in the alterations department at the Missoula Mercantile for four years. She also truly enjoyed working as an election judge in South Dakota and Montana. She was very conscientious about the right to vote and prided herself in the fact she had voted in every election since she was old enough to vote. 

She loved the beautiful things on earth, especially all the mountains, trees, flowers and Montana, her adopted state.

Esther was preceded in death by her husband, Ellsworth William “Bill” Jenter in 2007; parents John and Mary (Jorgensen) Larsen; two brothers, Ernest and Ivan Larsen; two sisters, Dagmar (John) Stenholtz and Ella Larsen.

Esther is survived by her beloved daughter, Nancy Jenter-Mininger and son-in-law Gerald Mininger of the family home at Bear Creek; sister, Vesta Schroedermier of Viborg, S.D.; brothers Robert (Maxine) Larsen and Gene (Betty) Larsen of Sioux Falls, S.D.; many cousins, nieces and nephews.

She had a wonderful full life and we know that she will be with loved ones who have been waiting for her and she will be waiting for other loved ones to join her and she would not want to say goodbye but just say so long for now.

Friends celebrated and shared Esther’s life with her family, Nancy and Gerald on Friday, March 19, at 2 p.m. at the chapel at Cremation and Burial Society of the Rockies Funeral Home, 2510 Spurgin Road. A reception followed the service. Placement of Esther’s urn will be next to her husband, Bill at the Western Montana State Veterans Cemetery following the reception.

She was also blessed with many loving pets over the years so the family suggests any contributions be made in Esther’s name to the Humane Society of Western Montana, 5930 Highway 93 South, Missoula, MT 59804 or to the charity of your choice.


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