Esther Florence (Lisius) Hempel, age 94, entered eternal life on December 8, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. She was born on June 26, 1928 to Nora Katherine (Schmidt) and Edward Lisius. She grew up on the Lisius farm in Kawkawlin, Michigan. Her love for the outdoors started there with gardening and field work. She was an excellent student, graduating as the eighth grade valedictorian. She attended Michigan Lutheran Seminary in Saginaw, Michigan. She went on to community college for one year before attending Valparaiso University in Indiana. It was at “Valpo” that she met her life partner, Gordon Hempel. They were married in 1948. She and Gordon built Film Comm/TV Access, the family business, together. They lived in Des Moines, Iowa; Chicago, Illinois; White Plains, New York; Morton Grove and Bloomingdale, Illinois. She later moved Nashville, Tennessee.
Esther is survived by her children: Carol (Ross) Hunter, Cheryl (Hugh) Reitan, Keith (Michele) Hempel, Kenneth (Teresa Beverly) Hempel, and Cynda Johnson; grandchildren: Brielle, Zachary, Jason, Kyle, Tyler, Katharine, and Caroline; great-grandchildren: Jack, William Ross, Greta, Linnea, Jane, Anne, William Beckett, Griffin, Charlotte, Hazel, Dakota, Olivia, and Brenda; great great-granddaughter, Willow, as well as many other nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her loving husband Gordon in 1994, her son-in-law, William Johnson, her great-granddaughter, Norah Grace Hempel, by sisters, Irma Gies and Elsie Dietlein, and brothers, Harold Lisius and Elmer Lisius.
Esther will be remembered as an active member of her church, for the work she and her husband did as lay missionaries in Peru and Texas and for her participation in the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League. Esther and Gordon were active supporters of Ukrainian children in the early 1990s when they organized sponsors and brought many children to safety in the Chicago area. This outreach to displaced individuals continued as Mom provided a home for young people from around the world as they furthered their educations in school or through internships. In addition, she was an adventurous traveler, visiting upwards of 40 countries. She rode on a camel and an elephant. She took river cruises through Europe, as well as long bike rides in Ireland, from Vienna to Budapest, and in Kerala, India. She hiked portions of the Appalachian Trail and the Inca Trail. She was an avid runner, placing third in her age group in the 1984 Chicago Marathon. Above all she was a kind, caring, and loving mother, who showed her children and those around her how to find beauty in life. She made the world bigger and more exciting through reading books, cooking delicious meals, visiting museums, gardens, parks and churches.
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, January 14, 2023, at 2:00PM at Our Savior Lutheran Church located at 1244 W. Army Trail Road, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. A reception will follow the Memorial Service.
An additional Celebration of Life Service will be held on June 24, 2023 at 11:00AM at St Bartholomew Lutheran Church located at 997 E Beaver Rd, Kawkawlin, MI 48631. A reception lunch will follow the Celebration of Life Service.
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