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Obituary

Esther (Danielsen) Gustafson, 89, of Genoa, Illinois, died Thursday, November 2, 2017, at Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb. Born May 22, 1928, in Denmark, the daughter of Niels H. and Anna (Kristensen) Danielsen, she was baptized June 28, 1928, in Gerlev, Denmark, and came to the United States in September 1929.
She graduated from Hampshire High School in 1946, then went to work for the Borden Company in Hampshire for 10.5 years.
She married Cleo L. Gustafson on October 1, 1955, at Zion Lutheran Church in Elgin. They resided in Hampshire for a couple of years before moving to their present home in Genoa. They were blessed with three children, Glenn, Sally and Nancy.
When Cleo died very suddenly at age 39 of a major heart attack, Esther went to work at Davenport School for 29 years. She was a dedicated member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Genoa, involved in a number of church groups, and taught Sunday school for 24 years.
Survivors include her children, Glenn (Wendy), Sally and Nancy; grandchildren, Ryan (Jillian), Jillian (fiancé, Michael Piske) and Kelsey Gustafson, and Noelle and Alex Saleh; sister-in-law, LaVerna Fuller of California; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband in 1966; parents; in-laws, Walter and Maude Gustafson; sisters, Dagny Bicknese and Anna Allen; nephew, Tim Allen; and brother, Sven in Denmark.
The funeral service will be held at 11 am Monday, November 6, 2017, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 33930 N. State Road in Genoa, with the Rev. Jeremy Heilman officiating. Visitation will be from 4-7 pm Sunday, November 5, at the church. Interment will be at Genoa Cemetery.
Memorials to Trinity Lutheran Church and Rockford Rescue Mission.
Arrangements by Olson Funeral & Cremations Services, Cooper-Quiram Chapel, 202 E. Main St., Genoa, IL.

Condolences & Shared Memories (16)

  1. Rev. Dan and Janelle Berteau

    It is deep sympathy that Janelle and I send our condolences to Esther's family and friends. Esther is a Saint of God now resting in the church triumphant with her Lord Jesus. Esther was one of the brightest rays of joy for a young pastor and his family coming to live in Genoa for the first time. Her warm smile and friendliness was so genuine and heartfelt. We will always carry fond memories of her with us. May God bless you all as we await our joyful reunion with Esther and all the Saints from whom their labors rest.

  2. Sheila Wagner

    I have so many memories and will never forget her.

  3. Julie Merritt Murphy

    Glenn, Sally & Nancy, I’m so sorry to hear of your mom’s passing. She and my mom were at Davenport at the same time. We were all so fond of her. She was full of energy and had that wonderful twinkle in her eye. I still make her brownie recipe! May you find peace in these wonderful memories.

  4. Bridget Gran-Ide

    Mrs. Gus was such an amazing presence. She took everyone under her wing. She made me feel special when I was a child and was a gift to our family while we lived in Genoa. We still make "Mrs. Gus's Beans" to this day! Nancy - I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you and your whole family.

  5. Pamela Whittenhall

    Esther was a wonderful friend and neighbor as well as a beautiful fixture at Davenport School when our children were little. A sweet woman, a wonderful baker, and someone who will be greatly missed by her friends and family.

  6. Susan Trupp

    When my family joined Trinity Lutheran Church, Esther made our family feel so welcome. She was always busy with the Ladies Aid but never too busy to ask our kids about their lives. May you rest in peace Esther.

  7. Sue Hallahan

    Mrs. Gus, The Hallahan's favorite Pastry Chef. What a wonderful, classy woman. She was like my second Mom and didn't mind having us crazies around. My condolences to all the family

  8. Tonia Haeffner

    Esther was definitely a great woman inside and out! The world is going to be without a very kind and loving person. RIP Esther

  9. Karen Scherer-Noftz

    Esther will always thought of with fondness. She was truly a very wonderfully nice person. She will be forever missed.

  10. Jim Kline

    Esther was an incredibly kind and caring neighbor to my family when I was growing up. She dealt with many challenges in her life with courage and faith, and now is at rest in her Heavenly Home.

  11. Julie Coon Atkinson

    I will always remember Mrs. Gustafson's kindness & warm smile. I spent many a lunch hour in her office with an upset stomach as a child. She was a cheerful "giver" all her life. Our deepest sympathy to your family.

  12. Gerald and Geri Hysom

    From the day we moved to Genoa Esther made us feel at home. She was not just a neighbor, she was a friend. We would talk for hours over coffee cake and coffee while talking about nothing and everything. Esther was someone who will forever be in my heart. I know the Lord has special plans for this very special lady.

  13. Cathy Robson

    Esther was so kind and neighborly when I moved my young family into a house across the street from hers. She brought us an amazing dinner topped off with cinnamon rolls, which my girls remember fondly. She was always looking out for us and was a very kind and wonderful woman. My heart is saddened by this news and my deepest sympathies and prayers are with her family. The community has lost a wonderful soul.

  14. Karen Anderson

    My girls and I have fond memories of Esther. I can honestly say she was one of the sweetest persons I have had the privilege of knowing. She raised 3 wonderful children. There is definitely a new angel in heaven. She left a mark on a lot of people's lives. My thoughts and prayers are with her family.

  15. Rachel Shipley

    Mrs. G was such a sweet lady. She will forever be a memory of my childhood, and I feel blessed to have crossed paths with such a wonderful person. My sincere sympathies to the family.

  16. Jim and Betty DuMont

    Our prayers go out to Esther’s family as they go through this loss. We have known Esther for over 40 years, ever since we moved into our home and she came to the door with a dessert to welcome us to the neighborhood. She was the one to call me when one of our children got hurt or was sick at school when they were in grade school and she was always there comforting them until I got there to pick them up. The one memory that Esther and I always shared was when our son, Jimmy DuMont was 4 years old and decided that he was going to “run away from home”. He really didn’t understand what that meant yet Jimmy decided to do just that. After we told him that we didn’t want him to leave and that we would miss him, he packed his little suitcase and left. As we watched him walk down the street we saw him go to Esther’s door and she welcomed him in. After she gave him some cookies and milk he decided that it was time to come home. Esther and I always got a good laugh when we would talk about that. After I retired and had more time I would go over to Esther’s and visit. Just a few weeks ago I went over to share some veggies from my garden. I told my husband that I was going over to Esther’s and he answered, ok, I’ll see you in 3-4 hours. That is how our visits always went. I will miss those talks that we had. Our neighborhood will not be the same without Esther. Jim and I will miss her greatly. Rest in peace Esther, and our prayers continue to be with her family.


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