Esther Porter, age 97 of Perry, passed away on Wednesday, October 11, 2017, at the Rowley Community Center in Perry, IA. Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, at 11:00 a.m. at the Perry Bible Church in Perry. Visitation will be on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, from 10:30 a.m. until time of the service. Burial will be at the Mitchellville Cemetery at Mitchellville, IA. Memorials will be given to Perry Bible Church and may be left at the Carris Family Funeral Home.


Esther Ursalina Porter was born on August 8, 1920, at Marshalltown, IA, to Walter Jackson and Nelle Sara (Hooven) Smith. She attended school at Ferguson, IA, and Dunbar, IA, where she graduated in 1937. Her parents were farmers and during The Great Depression years they always had food, clothing and a good warm house, but no luxuries. She told her daughters that she did not know there was The Great Depression until family visited from the city. She learned early in life to appreciate everything she had. She attended American Institute of Business in Des Moines, IA, and during that time met her husband, Maurice. She loved to tell people that they met at Madam Lacuda's Dance Studio! She was united in marriage to Maurice Porter at her family home in Dunbar, IA on February 8, 1942, and they farmed near Mitchellville where Maurice had grown up. They moved from Mitchellville to Perry in 1955 where they raised five daughters. She had several secretarial jobs, but her favorite was Perry Chamber of Commerce. During those early busy years, she welcomed her mother-in-law into their home to live.


She and Maurice were members of the Perry Bible Church. She found time to teach Sunday School when her children were young and helped with church pre-school in later years. Although busy with work and children, she hosted many family dinners on weekends. Her fried chicken, pot roasts, meatloaf and cinnamon rolls were enjoyed by many! She did some sewing when the children were little; canning, gardening, cross stitch were other things she enjoyed. She loved her family first and foremost and had a kind and encouraging word for everyone. She enthusiastically helped with many new babies as they arrived into the family.


After moving into Rowley, she enjoyed crossword puzzles, sending birthday cards to approximately 70 family members right up to her death, reading Christian fiction, reading her Bible and devotional book, writing in her journal, bingo days and musical entertainment. She also liked going out for rides around town and noting the changing seasons and reliving memories along the way. Whenever a young great-grandchild would visit her at the nursing home, it was really important to her to give them a little gift. She didn't have much to share, but if she had a flower she made at activity time, a pretty post card or a candy bar she won at bingo she gave it away. And she always had a bag of peppermints. She was known for her smile at the nursing home!


In death she rejoins her husband Maurice, as well as parents Walter and Nelle Smith and brothers, Richard (Dick) Smith and Robert (Bob) Smith.


Left to cherish Esther’s memory are her five daughters: Linda and her husband Ron Roy of Shawnee, Kansas; Nancy and her husband Jim Charter of Ankeny, Iowa; Jane and her husband Eddie King of Merriam, Kansas; Judy Jordan of Iowa City, Iowa; and Sally and her husband Roger Ahles of Fort Worth, Texas. Fourteen grandchildren: Becky (Marty) Slater, Rob (Teresa) Roy, Erik (Amber) Charter, Casey (Ed) Staats, Mark (Katie) Charter, James (Kristin) King, Kate King, Eddie Elbert, Jason (Angie) Jordan, Josh (Anessa) Jordan, Joanna Jordan, Andrew (Kathleen) Ahles, Jonathan (Meredith) Ahles, Bethany Ahles. Thirty-three great grandchildren and two great great grandchildren. Three sisters-in-law: Mary Thomas, Mitchellville, IA; Muriel Faulkes, West Des Moines, IA; and Gladys Porter, Ankeny, IA.


We want to thank Rowley Community Center. Esther said, “It has been a good home, with faithful and caring staff."

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