Esther M. Gardalen

Esther Mae Gardalen, 94, of Clear Lake, died Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, in Northwood, surrounded by her family.

A private family graveside service was held on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at Clear Lake Cemetery, with Pastor Al Berge officiating.

Family suggests memorial contributions to MercyOne North Iowa Hospice in Mason City.

Esther was born Jan. 16, 1926, the daughter of Ira and Ethyl (Garner) Martin, in Hamilton County, Iowa. She married Leo Gardalen on July 7, 1945, at the Little Brown church in Nashua. He preceded her in death on May 2, 2005.

A graduate of Popejoy High School, class of 1943, Esther continued her education at Ellsworth Community College prior to graduating from Iowa State Teachers College in Cedar Falls. She began teaching elementary school in Rowan, followed by Alexander and Thornton. She finished the final 23 years of her 34 year career in Garner; retiring in 1989. She was very proud of all the students’ lives she touched throughout her teaching career.

Esther was a member of Zion Lutheran Church, in Clear Lake, where she was active in the Hope Circle and quilters group. She was also a member of the Retired Teachers Association of North Iowa and Garner. She enjoyed helping Leo on the family farm, reading, ceramics, and most importantly, her family and grandchildren.

Esther is survived by three children, Marlyn (Mary) Gardalen, of Fort Dodge, Marlys Johnson, of Northwood, and Marcia (Kenny Peterson) Monson, of Clear Lake; seven grandchildren, Mark (Nelle) Gardalen, Abby (Luke) Devine, Ross (Val) Gaetzke, Ryan (Kathy) Gaetzke, Jennifer (Kyle) Krotzer, Cristina (Tanner) Lacey and Cortney (Donald) Steine; 12 great-grandchildren, Chace, Mason and Elizabeth Gaetzke, Briar Anderson, Grace Gardalen, Wesley, Kennedy and Piper Devine, Payten, Kneila and Aubriella Steine, and Cash Lacey; and sister, Evelyn Vulgamott of Ames.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; granddaughter, Teresa Gardalen; and sisters, Ella Askelsen, Ilene Hill and Iris Johnson.

Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, Clear Lake, was in charge of arrangements.

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