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Esther Anne Schliep, daughter of Herman and Louise (Wille) Schliep was born February 6, 1917 in Ward County, North Dakota, and was baptized into the Lutheran faith in Makoti, ND.  At a young age, her family moved to the Hancock, MN area, and Esther was later confirmed at Peace Lutheran Church in Morris.  She began her education at District 48 rural school in Swift County, and later attended Hancock High School, graduating in 1935.  Esther then attended one year of Normal Training in Appleton before teaching at country schools in the Hancock area for the next seven years.  During WWII, Esther moved to Michigan, where she was employed by the U.S. Government.  Following the war, Esther returned to Minnesota and was united in marriage to Merrill Sloneker on December 7, 1945 at Peace Lutheran Church.  The couple eventually made their home in Hancock, where they owned and operated Sloneker & Stenson Grocery, in partnership with Helen and Juel Stenson, for the next 30 years.  Their store was located next to Kositzke Hardware, which was owned and operated by their life-long friends, Fred and Alice Kositzke.  Wonderful memories, too numerous to count, were created during their 30 years in business together.  Due to Merrill's failing health, the couple retired in 1978, but continued to live in Hancock.  The next 13+ years of Esther's life were dedicated to caring for her husband and to the countless trips to the many towns and facilities for his dialysis treatments.  Merrill died on May 15, 1992.  Esther continued to live in Hancock following Merrill's death, but moved from her home to Walnut Court shortly after its completion.  She lived there until suffering a stroke on Saturday, November 12, 2005.  Following her hospitalization, she was transferred to the Minneota Manor in Minneota, to be closer to her daughter.



Esther was a long-time, active member of St. John's Lutheran Church in Hancock, where she did a lot of work with the women's groups.  She was also active with the Hancock VFW Auxiliary.  Some of her favorite hobbies included playing cards, working cross word puzzles, watching Wheel of Fortune and working on jig-saw puzzles with her friends at Walnut Court.  More than anything, Esther loved her family, and was always on the go, attending her grandchildren's events, weddings and other family gatherings.



Esther died on Sunday, December 4, 2005 at Minneota Manor in Minneota, MN, having lived to reach the age of 88 years.



She is survived by: one son: David (Mary) Sloneker of Watertown, MN; one daughter: Marilyn (Alvin) Smith of Minneota; six grandchildren: Stephanie Hennen, Julie Smith, Anh (James) Hudspeth, Paul (Jennifer) Smith, Matthew Sloneker (Fiance: Melissa Stutelberg) and Michael (Katy) Sloneker; five great-grandchildren: Jenna Hennen, Kayla, LaShad and Mason Smith and Marcus Hudspeth; one brother: Robert (Rose) Schliep of Libby, MT; sisters-in-law: Shirley Schliep of Morris; Velma Hansen of St. Michael and Helen (Juel) Stenson of Hancock; brother-in-law: Leon (Pat) Sloneker of Cyrus; aunt: Hilda Poppe of Morris and many nieces, nephews and cousins. She was preceded in death by her husband; her parents; one grandson-in-law: Eric Hennen; one brother: Elmer Schliep and one sister-in-law: Nellie Schliep.



Pallbearers for the service are: Paul Smith, Matthew Sloneker, Michael Sloneker, Lee Sloneker, James Hudspeth and John Albu. Honorary pallbearers are: Stephanie Hennen, Julie Smith, Anh Hudspeth, Jennifer Smith and Katy Sloneker. Phyllis Joos will serve as organist for the service. Pedersen Funeral Home in Morris is in charge of the arrangements.

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