Obituary for Lila Esse

Lila Harriet Highby Esse August 31, 1918 – July 9, 2019 Lila Harriet Highby Esse was born August 31, 1918, to Alfred and Marie Highby at their homestead in Cottonwood County, Minnesota. Lila was a remarkable woman, a true daughter of the prairie, growing up near Revere, Minnesota. During her teen years she suffered the loss of her parents to the encephalitis epidemic of the 1930s. She helped maintain the family homestead during World War II, and later became a school teacher. Lila met the widowed Carlyle Esse, principal and teacher at Walnut Grove High School, and they married on […]

show more

Lila Harriet Highby Esse
August 31, 1918 – July 9, 2019

Lila Harriet Highby Esse was born August 31, 1918, to Alfred and Marie Highby at their homestead in Cottonwood County, Minnesota.

Lila was a remarkable woman, a true daughter of the prairie, growing up near Revere, Minnesota. During her teen years she suffered the loss of her parents to the encephalitis epidemic of the 1930s. She helped maintain the family homestead during World War II, and later became a school teacher. Lila met the widowed Carlyle Esse, principal and teacher at Walnut Grove High School, and they married on June 6, 1948. She was a loving mom to his children, Bob and Anne, and the family later grew with the birth of Lila and Carlyle’s son Rick. In 1951, they moved to Hayward, Minnesota, Carlyle’s hometown, and began a successful new career as grocers. Esse Grocery supported the family in the ensuing years.

After Carlyle passed away in 1986, Lila continued as an active member of the Hayward community, involved in activities at Hayward Lutheran Church, playing cards with friends and having coffee at the local shop.

In 2011, at the age of 92, she moved to Northfield and the Northfield Retirement Community to be closer to her children. “Who ever thought we would all end up in Northfield,” she would say.

She was creative, curious and caring. An exceptional quilter and knitter, her award-winning works could be seen at the Minnesota State Fair and Freeborn and Rice County fairs. Lila was an avid reader, by most counts she read three or four books a week. “Lila Hats,” her favorite knitting pastime, are worn around the globe, from the homeless population in the Twin Cities to friends in Mexico, Germany and the Czech Republic. Her routine question was, “Can you get rid of some more hats?” Then she would present a bag with a dozen of her creations for distribution.

Lila is survived by daughter Anne (Edward) Dougherty of Gold Canyon, Arizona; son Richard (Pamela Moeller) Esse of Northfield, Minnesota; grandchildren Christopher Esse, Sigurd Anderson, Elizabeth Kahrs, Eric Anderson, and Alexander Esse; nine great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Carlyle; son and daughter-in-law Robert and Ann Esse; brothers Lewis, Norris and Russell Highby; and sister Eleanor Iverson Bakken.

A Celebration of Lila’s Life will be held at the Northfield Retirement Community Chapel at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 3, 2019. A private family burial service will be held at Hayward Lutheran Church Cemetery.

Lila’s family would like to thank the staff at Northfield Retirement Community and the Allina Hospice team for their wonderful, caring support. Memorials are suggested to Hayward Lutheran Church, Old Westbrook Lutheran Church or Northfield Retirement Community Foundation.

Arrangements are with the Benson & Langehough Funeral Home. www.northfieldfuneral.com

show less


Funeral

August 3, 2019 - 10:00 AM

Northfield Retirement Community Chapel
900 Cannon Valley Dr W Northfield, 55057 Get Directions

6 Comments

  1. Judy Cady

    Dear Esse Family. I grew up in Hayward and have very wonderful memories of Lila. What a sweet and amazing woman. I feel blessed to have known her. Take care.

    Reply
  2. Rob Esse

    Lila was a sweet lady. My condolences to Ann, Rick and their families.

    Reply
  3. LADONNA HANSEN

    Anne my sympathy to you and your family. I can still see her smiling face at the store that was always there. Prayers and hugs to you.

    Reply
  4. Sandra Skaar

    Rick–Deepest sympathy to you and your family on the loss of your dear mother. She was deeply loved by everyone in Hayward who knew her. She gave so much to the community over the years. In later years, I sometimes drove my mom to the Hayward lunches with your mom when she came down from Northfield to renew old acquaintances. My mom, who is now 99, was very fond of your mom.

    Reply
  5. Darlene M Hoar

    Rick, sincere condolences to you and family. Lila was a great neighbor. An example of friendship, kindness, hospitality. I was always welcome at her house, even after I moved away. I was just talking about her with my sister last week. She was always doing for others. Love to you all. Darlene

    Reply
  6. Barb Budd

    Rick and Family,
    My sympathy to you all on the loss of your Mother, Grandmother, Aunt. May she rest in peace and you all be at peace.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shares
Share This

Share this obituary