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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Grandma Turtle

My second publication. The shorter version made the paper. This one is listed on the Penwell Gabel website, but I like it better.

Esther Georgia Tolbert, 98, passed away July 26, 2011 at Rolling Hills Retirement Community. Esther was born to John Murrison of Scotland and Alice Kriner Murrison in Chapman, KS on November 1, 1912 as the youngest of eight children.

She married Arthur I. Tolbert on May 21, 1937. They ran a dairy farm until retiring. She never learned to drive a car, but she drove a tractor when Art needed help harvesting. As well as rearing three children and a nephew, she also raised chickens, a crow, a lamb, two coyotes and a litter of skunks. She could outrun any calf born on the farm. And she did it all wearing a dress and with her hair styled.

She loved flowers and displayed the offerings her husband brought her daily from his flower garden. She was known for digging up a plant and plopping it into a pot to keep. They always grew. She kept a sprig of Jacob’s Coat in a vase on her kitchen table.

Esther was a member of Tecumseh United Methodist Church until they moved into town. Then she joined Oakland United Methodist Church, where she attended and served until crippling arthritis made travel impossible. She preferred the King James Bible, and thought other versions “read like stories.”

She was an excellent cook and hostess at family gatherings, where chocolate pie and lime Kool-Aid were staples, even when, in later years, the main meal was catered by KFC.

She loved to read and kept the Topeka Library busy bringing her romances and mysteries to the end. She branched out into one fantasy book, written by a granddaughter. Esther also loved to give and receive greeting cards and took great care in selecting them for special occasions. Although arthritis made it hard to write, she always signed birthday and Christmas cards for her family and friends.

Esther was preceded in death by her husband of 70 years, Art, who died October 11, 2007, her son James I. Tolbert of Topeka, KS, her nephew Carl Sisson, and two grandsons, Cory Tolbert of Topeka, KS and Damon Gjovig of Overland Park, KS. Survivors include her daughter Lois Gjovig and her husband Jon, her son Robert Tolbert and his wife Diane, her daughter-in-law Sammy Tolbert Peck, seven grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren and numerous friends and relatives.

Funeral services will be 10 a.m., Monday, August 8, 2011 at the Oakland United Methodist Church, 801 NE Chester, Topeka, 66616. Interment will follow at Penwell-Gabel Cemetery, Topeka. Mrs. Tolbert will lie in state after 1 p.m., Sunday, August 7, 2011 at the Penwell-Gabel Parker-Price Chapel, 245 NW Independence Ave, Topeka, where the family will receive friends from 4 to5 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to Oakland United Methodist Church. To leave a special message for the family online, please visit www.PenwellGabelTopeka.com.

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