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Esther Cornelia Bekker was born on September 2, 1916, in Chicago, IL, and died at age 95 on May 5, 2012, in Fargo, ND. She was the first of four children born to Dutch immigrant parents, Gerard and Katy Bekker.

At age seven, Esther and her family moved to Everett, WA. She graduated from Everett High School and worked at Everett Pulp and Paper Company in the billing department. In 1939, she attended Biola Bible Institute of Los Angeles. In 1940 to 1941, Esther attended Seattle Pacific College (now University) where she was president of Associated Women’s Students during her sophomore year. It was at Seattle Pacific College that Esther met her husband, Arthur Grimstad.

In 1942, she left school to work as the assistant manager at a Christian bookstore and supply center in Seattle. Esther and Arthur were married on June 4, 1943, and moved to Dallas, TX, where she worked at Child Evangelism Publishing Company while Arthur attended Dallas Theological Seminary. During the year when Arthur studied at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN, Esther returned to Seattle and Everett to work part-time at Pacific Timber Company. After Arthur’s graduation, they moved to Strum, WI, for three years. They lived again in Dallas and then in Minneapolis before they settled in McIntosh, MN, where they lived between 1949 and 1953. In the summer of 1953, Esther and Arthur moved to Moorhead, where they raised their five children.

In 1957 to 1958, Esther and Arthur and their family traveled to England and Scotland, so Arthur could pursue his studies in Edinburgh, Scotland. Esther was able to meet her Dutch relatives in the Netherlands and visit Belgium, Denmark, and Norway.

Beginning at age thirteen, Esther taught Sunday school and even became the head of the Sunday school at the church she attended during her college years. She devoted her life to teaching the gospel to children until she retired in 1992. Throughout her life, Esther supported Arthur in his various Christian ministries. While at Concordia College, Arthur and Esther opened up their home to Bible studies. Esther was an active member of the Women’s Missionary Federation and Concordia Women’s League. In all she did, it was her desire to bring honor to God.

Esther started singing solos in church as a child. She sang in a girls’ octet at her high school graduation and sang in many choirs. She and Arthur used to sing duets. Music was always an important part of her life.

Esther was preceded in death by her parents, Gerard and Katy Bekker; her sister Florence Bekker; and her brothers, Bob Bekker and George Bekker. She is survived by Arthur Grimstad, her husband of nearly 69 years; her children, Paul (Robbie), South Bend, IN, Stephen (Janet), Minneapolis, John (Laurel Holschuh), Edina, MN, Ruth (Max) Peters, Roseville, CA, and Mary Larson, Moorhead; her fifteen grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren with a fourth due in August. She is also survived by her sister-in-law, Jane Bekker of Everett, WA; and a number of nieces and nephews.

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