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Obituary for Esther Rosina Messman
Messman, Esther Rosina, age 100 of Lakewood, CO.
Esther was born at home in Loveland Colorado to Henry and Elizabeth (Pfalzgraff) Kitzman. She was the 8th child of 11. Her parents farmed in northern Colorado, first in Westminister, and then around Kersey. She attended school in Kuner through the 8th grade. Everyone was expected to help in the fields and Esther did her share as well. She said they wore big hats and scarves to keep from getting sun burned, not wanting farmer tans when they went to the Saturday night dances in town. She continued to protect that milky white complexion her entire life. They never went hungry, she said, but there were times they passed on favorite dishes so there was enough for visiting company.
In 1941 she married John Wesley Wisdom of Wray, Colorado and soon moved to a rustic cabin in Heeney, during construction of the Green Mountain Reservoir. Can you imagine morning sickness in that setting?
A short time later they moved to Portland OR, along with three of her siblings to get work in the shipyards. Their first child, Robert Leland Wisdom, was born in Portland, in November 1942. Wesley entered the service there and was sent to Ft Knox in Kentucky for training. Esther followed by train, with her new baby in tow. She found an apartment and a job in Louisville KY and stayed there until her husband was shipped overseas. She rarely got to see him. She and Bobby returned to Colorado and they moved in with her oldest sister Emma and her husband Ralph in Denver. She found work at Daniels and Fisher's department store and worked in the tea room in the D&F tower.
Her husband was in North Africa, Sicily, France (D-Day) and Belgium as an MP in the 2nd armored Division. Sadly, in 1945, he was killed in Krefeld, Germany on the Rhine, which was just a short time before the war in Europe ended. As a young widow of 25, Esther stayed in Denver, got her own apartment and continued to work downtown at D&F and Collier's record store. Hearing a tune of that era, she could name the song, the year it came out and sometimes the record label, even into her 90's.
She then met Vernon Messman, they fell in love and married in 1950. Their little family settled in the north Denver area where she stayed home, helping with Vern's new sewer cleaning business. Their daughter Mary Alice was born the next year.
In 1956 they purchased a home in Lakewood, CO. There are many fond memories of gatherings in that house. It was always filled with love. After their children were old enough, Esther returned to work this time as a checker at Food Giant and later Safeway, while Vern found success as a real estate broker.
Esther retired from Safeway in 1982. She collected her monthly pension for the next 39 years. Bet that skewed their actuarial tables.
Vernon passed away in 1987. Esther downsized to a townhouse without stairs in '94 and then to Westland Meridian senior living from 2012 until her passing.
Esther loved sports, She bowled on the same team for over 50 years, and ended up with a 130 average her last year at the age of 91. She was a true-blue Bronco fan. Meaning, she attended many a game in the cold and snow to cheer them on. Her other passion was gambling. She loved to handicap horse races and never missed a chance to “go up the hill”. She was amazingly very lucky!
She also loved to travel and toured many US states, including a trip to Hawaii with her sister-in-law Eleanor Wisdom for the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. In 2002 she was able to travel to the Netherlands to visit Wesley Wisdom's grave. (60 years after WWII).
Family was very important to Esther. She loved to attend family gatherings where laughter, brotherly teasing, and sense of belonging were ever present.
Esther was preceeded in death by her husbands, her son Bob, her son-in-law Carl and two special friends Tom Polvogt Jr. and Everett Ellis. Also 9 siblings and their spouses: Arthur (Edith) Kitzman , Emma (Ralph) Kruckenburg, Olinda (Wayne) Sweeney, Rueben (Sara) Kitzman, Elmer (Martha) Kitzman, Elsie (Ben & Herman)Roth Sitzman, August (Evelyn) Kitzman, Alvin Kitzman, & Edwin Kitzman. In-laws – Dean Messman (Jan), Norma Myers, Lyle Wisdom (Eleanor), Bob Decarolis and Jo Messman.
She is survived by her daughter Mary Hexamer, her sister Lillian Decarolis, daughter-in-law Turi Noel, brother-in-law Duane Messman, sister-in-law Dee Taylor, grandchildren Sheryl Johnson (Jeff), Gary Wisdom (Lori), Karen Wisdom (Michelle) and Brian Hexamer. 4 great grandchildren and 4 great great grandchildren. Also many, many loving nieces and nephews.
Esther was determined to make it to 100. And she was also determined to vote in the last presidential election. After all, she was born the year women won the right to vote in the US. Well, she accomplished those goals but she didn't quite make her last goal to make 101. She sure tried.
In closing, the pandemic brought all of us new challenges and we want to acknowledge the love and devotion her care-giver Lisa gave her over the last 18 months of isolation and declining health.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you donate to the charity of your choice or one of Esther's favorites: Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, or Boys Town.