Queen Esther


“Heaven is rejoicing!”

That is what I said to our children after my brother called yesterday evening to tell me our mother had passed through the veil of this life to her eternal home. I believe that with all my heart.

Heaven is rejoicing.

Esther lived up to her name – she believed she was royalty because she was a daughter of the King of Kings. Mother acted like royalty in the sense that she believed she had inherited all the riches of God’s blessings – and she lived like that. She expected good things to happen to her, and why shouldn’t they? She was a daughter of the King!

When her beautiful amaryllis bloomed for the second time this past year, she called me in an excited voice and said – “I’m sending you a picture – you won’t believe it unless you see it! It is blooming again! God blessed me again!”

Esther saw seemingly little things, even what others might accept as everyday occurrences as blessings from God. By recognizing God’s hand in the world around her, she was constantly blessed by the riches of His grace. Her smile was a reflection of God’s love in her heart.

My mother was 90 years old, born Esther Kathleen Rohner on May 17, 1928 in Chicago, Illinois. She was the 3rd of three daughters born to Svea Elise Anderson and Rouleau Lester Rohner.

Just like the queens in literature, my mother had shortcomings. She set high standards for herself and at times imposed those same standards on others. Yet Esther was willing to admit her failings and receive forgiveness.

Mother touched so many lives with her exuberant love for Jesus and God’s Word. She did this literally throughout the world, in Wheaton, Illinois, in North Carolina for 30 years, in Taiwan for 7 years, and even in trips to Brazil at age 86 and 87.

“After 80 you can say what you want!” she once told me with a twinkle in her eye. That means she had 10 years to speak her mind! Look out!

Heaven is rejoicing, and our family is blessed to have had royalty among us for so long. Esther will be greatly missed, but she is with her King. She told my older brother Garry this week that she “just wanted to finish strong.” She did!

2 Timothy 4:7-9 (NLT)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.

Queen Esther is now wearing that crown of righteousness.

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four gen

Four Generations 1979

24 thoughts on “Queen Esther

  1. Earth’s loss is heaven’s gain…. love and prayers to you all

    If He brings you to it, He will bring you through it. Amen !! Aspire to Inspire before you Expire.


  2. Nancy Ferguson Brown says:

    Gayle, I saw your mother as another Ruth Graham! Two Godly women and role models for others. Deep peace of Christ to you, Phillip and family…hugs, Nancy


  3. Gayle,
    This is so beautifully written and such a wonderful tribute to your mother, who truly was such a godly woman and example for so many. She lifted up our family in prayer so faithfully and was instrumental in our lives during such a crucial time. Her legacy will continue! May God comfort you and your family as you grieve your loss, and increase your joy knowing that she is now face to face with Jesus and your father! We love you!


  4. Jenny Hix says:

    I am so sorry! Your family is in my thoughts and prayers! I didn’t know her but after reading about her I realize she was an amazing women! Godspeed!


  5. Chris Solomon says:

    What a precious tribute to your mama! I rejoice with you though I know you will miss her dearly. Love you Gayle !!


  6. Ginny Middleton says:

    Gayle she was such a wonderful lady! It is hard to lose your last parent but thrilling to know they are in the presennce of the King! Prayers and much love to you and your family!


  7. Dianne Yount says:

    What a blessing Esther was to so many people in her 90 years! Of course there is sadness for those of us left to cherish her memory because she is no longer present physically, but–oh my goodness–we can’t help rejoicing because we know that’s what she’s doing with your dear father. Sending love and prayers to your family…


  8. Amy says:

    Sending love and remembering her as a beautiful woman. Amy


  9. Kathy Teer Crumpler says:

    Dearest Gayle, My thoughts, prayers and sympathy for you in the loss of your mom. What a beautiful tribute this is and clearly you have countless wonderful memories to sustain you. Always,


  10. Dear Gayle,
    I had the pleasure to meet both your parents for professional reasons. Because of our project to connect English students and native senior speakers of the language (I work for CNA, network of English schools in Brazil), I had the privilege of getting to know them better, especially when they came to Bahia for one of our franchisee conventions. I remember clearly how impressed everyone was at their energy and liveliness. I cherish a small wooden bowl your father carved and so kindly gave me when they arrived. A friendly and articulated gentleman. Esther, then, went along with a surprise we prepared for two of the teenagers from the project. I had the mission to welcome them and “hide” her as she would pretend to be in the US, talking to the students via Skype, when she actually was backstage. No one in the audience could hold back the tears when she showed up, live, on the stage, in front of more than a thousand people and greeted the students and the crowd. Esther was the symbol of the project. She inspired so many of our students with her wisdom, patience and teaching. Her disposition to participate, interact and learn was incredible. She helped us organize schedules, prepare the other seniors and solve emergency issues. The project will go on but she is already greatly missed. She will certainly be unforgettable, not only for those who had the fortune to know her, but also for the generations to come. Her image in her lovely red dress with white spots and a string of pearls is printed in our company’s history. A rare example of a generous and special human being who left a mark. We are all so very sorry and join you in your prayers.


  11. KENNETH RUDISILL and Linda Harrill Rudisill says:

    Gayle, You are your mother’s daughter…I see the same qualities in you….evidently she was a remarkable Christian lady….God’s blessings of peace and comfort to you and your precious family…….Linda and Ken


  12. Jim Burchel says:

    Gayle, I see now where you got your beautiful smile. Thank you so much for this lovely tribute. I know you and your family will greatly miss her but are also so grateful to know she is with the Lord. We’re praying for all of you during this time that God will richly bless you with all the wonderful memories I know you have of her. Blessings my friend…

    Jim Burchel


  13. Leslie Powell says:

    Dear Gayle, somehow I missed the news that your mother, dear Esther, went home to be with the Lord last October. I’m so sorry and yet, as you said, know that heaven is rejoicing. She, along with your father, were such treasures to our family when we first arrived in Taiwan in 1985 with SEND International. They became surrogate grandparents (or aunt and uncle) to our children, so far from family. They walked with us through our initial adjustments, encouraged us in our work and were such role models of how to love people for the sake of the Gospel. I’m saddened that we won’t see her during our future trips to Illinois, but am so thankful that she did finish well as the conclusion to a rich and full life and she is now at rest with Jesus. We have so much to look forward to in our anticipation of heaven! May the Lord bless you and your family as you remember her well and seek to follow her example.
    In Christ,
    Leslie and Scott Powell


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