Esthermae L. Rooke (’45)

Grab your coat and get your hat, leave your worries on the doorstep, just direct your feet to the sunny side of the street.” Following her favorite song, Esthermae Litherland Rooke, 96, of Kerrville, Texas, peacefully passed away on July 6 at The Wesleyan in Georgetown, living independently until the last few weeks and leaving behind a rich legacy of memories and a deep love for her family and friends. She was born in Houston to Louis Owen and Nettie Litherland on October 9, 1924 and grew up as a big sister to Joyce and Lou. At Stephen F. Austin High School, she was a newspaper editor and bugle captain of the Scottish Brigade drill team. (Although she hung up her bugle, she continued to attend reunions there into her nineties.) During high school, she met David Rooke at a church youth group, and they were married on June 2, 1945 at Epworth Methodist Church, a day after graduating college. They were inseparable, leaning on each other for over 64 years, moving to Lake Jackson, Texas in 1946, then to Midland, Michigan for 8 years, and making their final move to Kerrville, Texas in 1982 to retire (although “retire” was never in her vocabulary). The first woman college graduate in her family, Esthermae graduated from The University of Houston, and became the first biology teacher at the then Freeport High School. She was an endlessly creative Mom of four sons, Cub Scout den mother, faithful Church leader and volunteer across many ministries, and P.E.O. sister. She received the Silver Fawn award from the Boy Scouts of America for her dedicated service over many years. Esthermae was a child of The Depression and never threw anything away that could be used for a greater purpose. Many were the tuna fish cans transformed into magnificent centerpieces, and she could magically turn cut-out letters and into handmade notes and poems with just scissors, colored pens, Elmer’s glue, and her beloved IBM typewriter. Family was her Heaven on earth, and her tireless arms wrangled a 10-year span of sons and their very different needs (celebrating three birthdays in the first week of April!). She made sure every holiday, from her favorite Halloween to Texas Independence Day to The Kentucky Derby, was always dressed up, and somehow, she made all the days in between just as festive. On birthdays, everyone waited in anticipation for that inevitable phone call and rendition of “Happy Birthday to You.” It will be missed. Every special moment hung like a charm on the ever-growing gold bracelet that she wore like a noisy celebration around her wrist. Esthermae was preceded in death by her husband David, her parents, uncles and aunts (of which her name was made by combining two of them), her younger brother Louis Owen Litherland, Jr., and her niece, Julie Goode. Survivors include her four boys and their spouses: Eugene and Cheryl, Mark and Jana, Paul and Debra, and Bruce and Julia; her sister Joyce Lindler-Hale and sister-in-law Becky Litherland; her grandchildren Thomas, Anna, Stephen, Alison, James David, Austin, Emily, Maegan, Melisa-Beth, Eleanor, and Travis and their families, including 15 great grandchildren; and nieces and nephews Vicki and Tim Scheddel, Steve and Cheryl Litherland, and Joel and Lynn Goode. All of us have been touched and shaped by her supportive smiles and hugs, those countless cards and poems, the spontaneous shuffle, ball, and change, cheers of “Go, Spurs, Go!”, singing hymns and big band songs with her in her last days, and the infinite gift of her favorite verse from Psalm 118: “This is the day The Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!” We will rejoice and honor her life at a public memorial celebration at 3 pm on Sunday, September 5 at the Kerrville First United Methodist Church in Kerrville, Texas, with Dr. Donna Magee officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to the Kerrville First United Methodist Church, P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund, Schreiner University Litherland-Rooke Endowed Scholarship Fund, or a charity of your choice. For memorials to the P.E.O. Educational Fund, go to “Giving Opportunities” at or mail to: P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund P.E.O. Executive Office Treasurer’s Department 3700 Grand Ave. Des Moines, Iowa 50312 For memorials to the Schreiner University Litherland-Rooke Endowed Scholarship Fund, go to . Under Designations, select “Other” and then enter “Litherland-Rooke Endowed Scholarship Fund” in the box. Or mail to: Schreiner University Attn: Advancement 2100 Memorial Blvd. Kerrville, Texas 78028

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