Esther M.C. Brunken was born May 19, 1920, on the family farm in Elgin Township, rural Plymouth County, Iowa, the daughter of Herman and Mary (Lubben) Brunken. Esther was raised in Plymouth County and went to country school in Elgin Township.
She was united in marriage to Raymond John Renken Aug. 20, 1943, at St. John's Lutheran Church in Le Mars. Esther and Ray farmed their entire life with the exception of the years Ray was serving his country during World War II. Esther worked various jobs and was a homemaker for her family. Ray died April 3, 2006.
Esther was a long-time member of St. John's Lutheran Church in Le Mars and was active for many years in the W.E.L.C.A and the quilting group. She worked with children in Sunday school, Bible school, and 4-H.
She enjoyed crocheting, sewing, baking and cooking. In her earlier years, Esther and Ray liked playing cards.
Esther loved to care for her grandchildren. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
Survivors include her four children: Dennis and his wife, Helen Renken of Le Mars, Mary and her husband, Larry Miles of Dell Rapids, S.D., David and his wife, Judy Renken of Le Mars, and Shirley and her husband, Bill Ruhland of Le Mars; 10 grandchildren: Deborah Freund and her husband Bryan, Matthew Renken and his wife Marissa, Jennifer Renken, Dennis Jon Schmidt and his wife, Stacey, Dean Schmidt and his wife, Sabrina, Beth Diehl and her husband, Chris, Neil Renken and his wife, Ann, Erica Ruhland and her fiancÚ, Dan Rosskamm, Nicole Ruhland, and Zachary Ruhland; 10 great-grandchildren, nine stepgrandchildren and 20 stepgreat-grandchildren; one stepgreat-great-grandson; three sisters-in-law: Ethel Renken and Betty Brunken of Le Mars, and Beulah Renken of Newman Grove, Neb.; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Ray; brothers: Clarence and Norman "Bud" Brunken; and a sister, Marian Schmidt.
Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. John's Lutheran Church, E.L.C.A. in Le Mars. The Rev. Greg Gabriel will officiate. Burial will follow in Memorial Cemetery in Le Mars. Visitation will be after 4 p.m. Tuesday with the family present after 6 p.m., and a prayer service at 7 p.m., all at Carlsen Funeral Home in Le Mars. Visitation will resume from 9:30 a.m. until service time on Wednesday at the church.
Expressions of sympathy may be extended to the family through www.carlsenfuneralhome.com.