Doris Esau

Obituary of Doris Esau

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Viola Doris (Penner) Esau passed into the arms of her Heavenly Father in the early hours of September 16, 2020 at the Westview Care Community in Linden, Alberta as a result of long-term congestive heart failure.

Doris was born on May 9, 1934 in Swalwell, Alberta to Albert and Katherine (Reimer) Penner. She was initially called by her first name Viola, but given the difficulty her grandparents had pronouncing it, it wasn’t long before she was called by her second name Doris. She grew up on her parents’ farm east of Linden, along with her older sister Luana and her younger brother Dennis.

She went to school up to grade 9, first at the New Hope School near Swalwell, and then at Linden School, after which she went to work helping her dad with the farm animals and her mom with cooking, baking and cleaning. She eventually took a job at the egg-grading station in Linden, where a young man working on the loading dock began to court her. Their love blossomed and Doris and Clarence Esau were married on November 20, 1955. In the following years they were blessed with 4 children, Aldene in 1956, Janet in 1958, Barry in 1964 and Kevin in 1966.

Doris became a Christian in her childhood and was baptized upon confession of her faith in her early teens. Hers was a quiet and gentle, but steadfast and prayerful faith. She loved singing and listening to hymns and other worship songs. She regretted the disappearance of shaped notes from the hymnal, which she could read, but soon learned to pick up new tunes by ear from those sitting next to her at church. On the headstone that she will soon share with Clarence, is inscribed the first bars of “Be present at our table, Lord” in those beloved shaped notes.

Doris was a devoted wife and mother. She raised her children with a firm but gentle hand, and made it an honour to keep a clean and tidy home. If unexpected visitors showed up, no frantic clean-up was ever necessary, and the freezer, pantry and cold room were always sufficiently stocked to put on a plentiful spread. She maintained a large garden until back problems got in the way. Crafting and quilting were also important and loved activities for her.

When her children all eventually left home, she enjoyed working in the community, whether in the library at the school in Linden, or as a teacher’s aide in Linden, in Three Hills and in Olds where they lived for a number of years. She happily used her earnings to pay for her and Clarence’s trips to see their children as often as possible.

Doris’ heart was broken when a premature death snatched her beloved Clarence away from her. It was only as the onset of dementia faded his memories that her joyful spirit and love of life resurfaced, and she became known for her mischievous winks and tender hand kisses. She loved the smiles, touches and hugs from the caregivers in the Westview Care Community, and her family is eternally grateful to the staff for the gentle and joyous love shown to their mother.

Doris is survived by her children Aldene (Richard) Thiessen, Janet (Randy) Schellenberg, Barry (Manon St-Martin) Ésau, and Kevin (Denise) Esau along with 11 grandchildren: Christopher (Tanya) Thiessen, Michael (Melanie) Thiessen, Todd (Tessa) Schellenberg, Lindsay (Tyrel) Braun, Evan (Jodi) Schellenberg, Ashley (Tim) Braun, Benjamin (Jennie) Esau, Krystal (Thomas Mann) Esau, Nicholas (Amanda) Esau, Marisol Ésau and Coralie Ésau; and 14 great grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister Luana (Gladwin) Toews and her brother Dennis (Joyce) Penner, four sisters-in-law, two brothers-in-law, and numerous nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband Clarence Esau, by her parents Albert and Katherine (Reimer) Penner, by her parents-in-law John and Margaret (de Veer) Esau and by three sisters-in-law, three brothers-in-law, and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held on September 21, 2020 at the Linden MB church at 1:30 pm. Interment will take place at 11:00 am at the Linden Cemetery. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, only the immediate family will be present.

Everyone is invited to join in the livestream broadcast of the funeral service: <Click here>


Memorial Service

1:30 pm
Monday, September 21, 2020
Linden Mennonite Brethren Church
Centre Street North
Linden, Alberta, Canada
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