Roland “Ron” Stanley Esker
Roland “Ron” Stanley Esker, beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather passed away peacefully with family at his side on December 21, 2019. Ron was born in Wausau, Wisconsin on February 20, 1937, to the late Stanley and Lillian (Bukowski) Esker. Ron was raised on the family farm where he learned the value of hard work. He was a 1955 graduate of DC Everest High School, where he was a member of the first football and basketball teams to play at the school. He enjoyed people and always looked forward to class reunions.
After high school he joined the Army, serving as a radio technician in Alaska. He enjoyed making friends, telling jokes and, most importantly to him, learning to set goals. It was during his stint in the Army that he honed his card-playing skills, especially poker, which he played his entire life.
After the Army, Ron came back to Schofield, Wisconsin. And it wasn’t long before met his future wife on a blind date. He married his best friend and partner for life, Beverly (Fricke) Esker on September 24, 1960, at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Wausau. They shared 59 years together. Ron’s family was very important to him. He loved attending the kids’ school events and was proud of his children and their spouses: Deb (Dave) Cunningham, Denver, CO, Jeff (Becky) Esker, Appleton, WI, Carla (Matt) Moss, Dallas, TX and Kelly (Jennifer) Esker, Marshfield, WI. Ron has 11 grandchildren: Amelia and Molly Cunningham; Leah (Adam Hartenberger), Stephanie (James Siegle), Rachel and Aaron Esker; John and Ethan Moss; Cade, Meghan and Wyatt Esker. He also enjoyed his 3 great-grandchildren: Kevin, Natalie and Daniel Hartenberger.
Ron enjoyed coaching his children’s youth sports teams and was known to be able to motivate players to succeed. While in Wausau, he was a member of the St. Anne’s Finance and Polka Fest Committees (he loved to Polka dance), the Wausau West Booster Club, and the Optimist Club member for 18 years. He was selected Optimist of the Year by his peers. He led a committee that started what has become one of the largest and most successful youth basketball tournaments in Wisconsin.
Ron and Bev also enjoyed hosting high school foreign exchange students.
Ron traveled the state of Wisconsin in sales his entire life, first with Marathon Electric, then Leverance Electric and finally with Imperial Calumet. He enjoyed cold calling and the challenge of generating sales where there were none before.
After retirement, Ron and Bev moved to Ridgedale, MO. Ron was involved at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church as a Eucharistic Minister, organized a group of senior citizens to build floats in his garage for the Branson Christmas parade, and started an investment club. He was a proud 50+ year member of the Knights of Columbus.
Wherever Ron lived, he was well-known to his neighbors. They knew they could count on him to lend a friendly ear or help with any task. Ron was an avid sportsman. He loved to fish, bowl, boat, ski and snowmobile. In his later years, he taught himself chainsaw art, wood carving, and even built a wood strip canoe.
Ron is further survived by his siblings: Alice (Joe) Stepan, Arizona; sister-in-law Sue Esker, Wisconsin; and Diane (Dave) Carlson, Illinois; and brother-in-law Larry (Mary) Fricke Wisconsin. Besides his parents, Ron was preceded in death by his brother, Eugene Esker.
A visitation in celebration of Ron’s life will be 10:00 a.m. with mass to follow at 11:00 a.m. Friday, February 21, 2020, at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church at 203 Vaughn Rd, Branson, MO, with Reverend Joseph Kelly officiating. Burial to follow at 3:00 p.m. at the Missouri Veterans Cemetery at 5201 S. Southwood Rd, Springfield, MO.
Our family would like to thank all the friends, relatives, and neighbors, Dr. Salmon, Compasses Hospice nurses and aides, Hank Williams, Knights of Columbus #6470 for their love and friendship. Ron loved people and you all enhanced his life.
Memorial donations to Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, Branson, MO, are suggested.