Esther Elizabeth Bennett was born on May 23, 1932 to her American parents, John and Ruth Biery Bennett, near Brooks, Alberta where they were homesteading. She was welcomed by three older brothers, Paul, Jim, and Pete, who preceded her in death.
Ruth was unwell and died when Esther was four. Another child, Grace, was born to John and his second wife, Alice.
School did not come easily to Esther; she credited prayer for getting her through Seattle Pacific College, where she graduated with a degree in Physical Education in 1955. She went on to earn a doctorate in Bible from Pensacola Bible Institute.
Esther was a career teacher in Washington State even as she filled her spare time with teaching Bible studies and hosting home groups. Everything changed after age forty when she heard God call her to go around the world and tell His children that He loved them. That fifteen-month trip showed her the great need for encouragement to missionaries and Christian leaders in far-flung places. She taught two more years, then started her faith walk to fulfill that call. Well over twenty nations were included in annual trips; her last international ministry was in 2012.
Sharon Pryor joined her in 1979 as she again flew around the world to teach, encourage, and give to missionaries as she was led. For almost ten years their base was Victoria Canada where they taught at an interdenominational Bible school and helped in local churches. Many lifelong relationships began there.
In 1988, Esther and Sharon were led to Sweet Home, Oregon. As the international travel continued they were used by God to help spearhead a shelter for homeless and abused women and children. For four years they provided guidance to Crawfordsville Community Church. At age 75, she wearied of preaching every week. Esther and Sharon responded to an invitation to move to Boise, Idaho where they would offer spiritual care in her niece’s senior living facilities. She taught Bible multiple times a week until her mid-80’s.
Esther is survived by her sister and husband, Grace and Don Kartevold, many nieces and nephews and their extended families, and the family of God in many nations. Her faith walk, her clear Bible teaching with her candid honesty about her failures, her book, and her fun-loving lifestyle left an imprint on countless lives around the globe.
“Be thou faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life.” Revelation 2:10d
To continue Esther’s legacy, memorials toward the ministry of Esther’s good friends Lorrie and Yoka may made to MEANS (www.meansconnect.org), designating it for Precious Jewels Ministry Uganda.
Services are under the direction of Accent Funeral Home and Cremation.