Esther (Larsen) Rands, 96, of Ladysmith, died on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, at Ladysmith Care Community.
Esther was born on June 9,1923 in a log house north of Bruce on the Chippewa River, to the late Frank and Elsine Larsen. She attended the one-room Thornapple school with aspirations to become a teacher herself, but had to discontinue her education in 8th grade, when the Great Depression struck, as she was needed to help with the dairy and crop farming and household chores. She was also employed off the farm, serving as a mother’s helper for her neighbor, working at the local laundromat, a housekeeper at a local resort and, seasonally worked at the Stokley Cannery.
In her late teens, she moved to Chicago, Ill., where she first worked as a nanny and then at the Stewart Warner defense factory, making radios, artillery, big equipment and airplane engine parts. Two years later, she enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps of the U.S. Army and served for 2 years as a truck driver both stateside and overseas in Europe. She was stationed mainly in England and France, but also served in Germany, Italy and Belgium.
Within 9 months after returning home, she met and married Maurice “Knute” Rands on Nov. 2, 1946. Together they celebrated 70 wedding anniversaries! Before starting their family, she worked at Kents Hardware store and Royal Brand Coast to Coast Hardware store. Throughout her lifetime, she was a wonderful wife, an amazing Mom, homemaker, talented painter/artist, newspaper deliverer, town treasurer for 17 years, a foster mother for 12 years and a rail car switching operator. She was also very active at Hope Lutheran Church where she attended Bible study, taught Sunday school, quilted and helped prepare many meals.
In addition to her family, Esther loved Jesus Christ, fishing, gardening, traveling and cooking. She would most like to be remembered for being determined, faithful, loving, wise, giving, resourceful and creative. Her life motto was, “Take one day at a time, without worry, knowing God is in control.”
Together, Knute and Esther raised/parented Susan, Mark, Bill and Mary; foster parented Mary Ann; grandparented Beth, John, Ryan, Rachel, Sarah, Holly, Emma and Elizabeth and were great-grandparents to Zoey, Franny and Nicholas.
Esther is survived by her sisters, Elsie (Arnie) Larson of Ladysmith and Ione (Robert) Stark of Kent City, Mich. and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Knute; her son, Mark; her parents, Frank and Elsine Larsen; an infant sibling; her brother,Roy and his wife, Evelyn, and brother-in-law, Arnie Larson.
Memorial services will be held on Saturday, Nov. 2 at Hope Lutheran Church in Ladysmith. Visitation will begin at 9 a.m. followed by a service at 11 a.m. with Rev. Diane Odermann officiating. A private burial will follow.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the HLCW (Hope Lutheran Church Women), P.O. Box 184, Ladysmith, WI 54848.
Nash-Jackan Funeral Home assisted with the arrangements.