Esther M. Bearden  (nee Martin)


Bearden, Esther 4/3/1939- 11/23/2022

“Anyways, to make a long story short” was often how our mother started her stories, and she lived a full life, full of stories. She continuously viewed her life through a lens of abundance and thankfulness and was blessed by her focus on providing others happiness and joy. Our mother’s faith was truly vast and all encompassing. Born in Reading, Minnesota, she grew up on a farm as the third oldest of six children. She learned many life skills there: gardening, cooking from scratch, and canning…lots of canning. After graduating high school, our mother moved to Minneapolis to attend The Swedish Hospital School of Nursing’s three-year program. She made many wonderful friends there, ones who continued to bless her entire life. She also met her husband, our beloved father, during that time. Eight years older than her, she reluctantly accepted a weekend car ride to and from Worthington with him, one that their mothers artfully arranged. She avoided conversing with him on those long rides focusing on homework and long naps, but a few days after returning to the cities, our father called “again and again” and our mother “eventually” relented. They fell in love. She said, “she was stubborn and hesitant, while he was straightforward and sure,” that he was “the love of her life.” Our mother and father, John Edward Bearden, were united in marriage by her uncle, Rev. Wiert Eekhoff, October 1, 1960. They were wed 62 years. In 1962, our parents purchased a beautiful south-Minneapolis craftsman style home and rolled-up their sleeves. They were do-it-yourselfers and the addition of four children over a period of eleven years rounded out their family. During this time, our mother used her degree in nursing to serve and help others. She worked as a Head Nurse, Nurse Manager, and eventually as a Hospital Administrator at Fairview Riverside. When she decided to retire from that position, she resumed working as an Acute Rehab Staff Nurse so she could finish her career doing what she loved most, working with Multiple Sclerosis patients. One of the greatest accomplishments of her career was in 1984 when she developed the complete program for an acute care rehabilitation unit at Fairview Riverside. She worked in nursing 37 years, 17 of those in hospital management/administration. While working and raising four children, our mother was always involved with her church singing in the choir, teaching Sunday school, acting as Deacon, and volunteering with Meals on Wheels. Our mother loved to travel and visited Europe several times with our father. Later in life, they were able to spend winters in Arizona with their other “snowbird” friends. She was an accomplished artist and avid writer, her favorite art medium being watercolors. She was also a well-known gardener in her neighborhood and spent many hours there caring for her plants and passing this love on to her children and grandchildren. As years passed, our mother was blessed with twelve grandchildren whom she showered with texts and emojis, most of which were clear! Over the last years of her life, she was able to use her nursing skills to provide care for our father’s Alzheimer’s. She loved him very much. The act of giving is one of the most prominent ways our mother expressed her love to others, which was rooted in her gratitude and perspective of what God wants from his people. She always gave and accepted people no matter what they did or did not believe. Her favorite bible verse highlighted this value, Galatians 6:9-10, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” She loved tipping generously, sharing her baked goods with neighbors and grandchildren, she was always looking for ways to pay it forward. Our dear mother is survived by our father, John, four children: Joel (Sharon) Bearden, Tim Bearden, Amy (Doug) Wilde, Julie (Ken) Peterson, and twelve grandchildren: Rachel, Jack, Josh, Libby, and Anna Bearden; Luke, Isaac, Hannah, and Abigail Peterson; and Emily, Sarah, and Grace Wilde. She is preceded in death by two siblings: Florence Mae (Dale) Snipes and Jim Martin and survived by three siblings: Phyllis (George) Heronimus, Dale (Shirley) Martin, Lucille Seid, as well as sister-in-law Pat Martin (Jim). Mom is also survived by her nursing classmates, dear neighbors, her church family, and many other friends, all whom she deeply cherished. Mom, we love you and miss you. A memorial service will be held December 3 at 11:30 am at Resurrection Mpls Church, 3501 Aldrich Ave S, Minneapolis, preceded by visitation at 10:00 am. A luncheon will follow the service.

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