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Published: Wednesday, 4/9/2003

Teacher enjoyed church, traveling

SANDUSKY - Esther K. Benziger, a former teacher in Monroe and Sandusky-area elementary schools, died Sunday in the Lutheran Memorial Home where she had been a patient for about two years. She was 85. Relatives did not know the cause of death.

The seventh of eight children, Mrs. Benziger grew up on a farm in Erie County's Perkins Township. A 1924 tornado destroyed most of the family farm, forcing the family to make financial sacrifices to rebuild it.

After graduating from Sandusky High School about 1935, Mrs. Benziger enrolled at Bowling Green State University, paying her own way for two years, then teaching in the Perkins Local schools to save enough money to return and complete her degree.

For a time she taught at Sandusky City Schools, then about 1950 moved to Monroe, Mich., where she taught for 15 years at Lincoln and Boyd elementary schools.

“She loved teaching wherever she was,” Luella Koch, her sister-in-law who also taught with her at Lincoln Elementary, said. “She loved little children.”

She later completed a master's degree from Wheaton College. In the mid-1960s, she returned home to Perkins Township to care for her ill parents and while doing so fell in love with Victor Benziger, who owned a fruit farm on Lima-Sandusky Road.

“She took her parents with her to buy fruit,” Mrs. Koch said. “The two of them got to talking, and that's how it got started.”

They were married in 1968 after she turned 51. Neither had been married before. “I think she was real happy,” she said.

In retirement, the couple enjoyed traveling. Among their destinations were the Holy Lands.

She was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, where she was president of the former Lake Erie Conference Women of the Church and a member of the auxiliary of Erie County Gideon Camp.

Surviving are her husband, Victor Benziger, and sisters, Elsie Young and Alverna Rutz.

Services will be at 10:30 a.m. today at the Quick-Park & Pfeil Funeral Home.

The family requests tributes to the Gideons International or the Luther Home of Mercy.

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