Esther Hawley

Esther E. Hawley

Dec. 20, 1929 – Dec. 3, 2019

A celebration of life service for Esther Hawley, 89-year-old Buffalo resident who passed away early Tuesday morning at her home in Buffalo will be at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 13 at Harness Funeral Home chapel in Buffalo with the Rev. Gerald Heinecke officiating. A private family interment will take place at a later time. Donations in Esther’s memory may be made to the Lutheran Hour Ministries or the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church or the Susie Bowling Lawrence Hospice in care of the Harness Funeral Home at 351 N. Adams in Buffalo. Online condolences may be made at 

Esther Emma Maragareta (Kusch) Hawley was born Dec. 20, 1929 to Ernst and Katharina (Ullrich) Kusch in the family home near Schleswig, Iowa. She grew up and went to school in Schleswig and graduated from Schleswig High School in 1947. After high school she attended the School of Commerce in Omaha, Nebraska and graduated with a degree in accounting in 1948. In January 1953, Esther enrolled at Valparaiso University in Indiana, where she graduated with a degree in theology on June 2, 1957. On June 23, she was consecrated as a deaconess at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Omaha, Nebraska. As a deaconess, she traveled throughout the Midwest working in missions, recruiting students for ministry and fundraising for the Lutheran Deaconess Association. It was on a mission to Tripp, South Dakota where she met a young pastor named James F. Hawley. James and Esther were married on June 7, 1959 at Emmaus Lutheran Church in Tripp.

Esther was always the supportive pastor’s wife throughout their ministry together. She also worked full time as an accountant and credit manager for various businesses in the Dakotas. In 1992 Pastor Hawley and Esther moved to Buffalo where he pastored the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church. In “retirement” Esther volunteered her time to work with kids at Meadowlark Elementary, Head Start and the Boys & Girls Club. Esther also loved being a CASA volunteer. Pastor Hawley passed away in February of 2004 and Esther continued living in Buffalo until her death.

She is survived by her son Bill Hawley and his wife Denise of Buffalo; one sister Joan Schwartz of Rochester, Minnesota; three grandsons, Jeremiah Hawley of Buffalo, Josh and Adam Hawley both of Salisbury, Maryland; and one daughter-in-law Laura Hawley of Rapid City, South Dakota. 

She was preceded in death by her husband, one son Jim Hawley 2015, her parents, four brothers and one sister.