Honk, honk, hoooonnnnk! That honking you hear is Esther Mae announcing her arrival into heaven. Imagine the celebration and trumpet welcome as Esther Mae joined her Father and met Jesus! Esther Mae (Stiewert) Klatte, age 84, died peacefully December 18, 2020 at home on the ranch with her children by her side. She was born on July 14, 1936 to Ida and Hubert Stiewert in Sandtown, Texas. She was baptized at Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Carmine, and later confirmed her faith there in 1949. She attended elementary school in Sandtown, with fond memories of walking with her siblings and neighboring friends through pastures and along dirt roads to get to school, laughing and joking along the way. Along with her siblings, she then attended Burton High School, where she cherished being part of the basketball team.
Esther Mae lived life to the fullest. She loved telling stories of growing up surrounded by a loving family, enjoying country living and dance hall fun. She shared fun memories of her and her siblings’ antics along “The Stiewert Freeway”, the dirt road that led to their family home. After high school, she went to work in Houston at Nifty Paper Factory, living with her sister in a garage apartment behind their other sister/brother-in-law’s home. Family was never far away, and they shared great stories of heading back out of the big city to enjoy the country with their parents on the weekends.
She met Herbert on a blind date in 1961, which was set up by her sister Wilma. It didn’t take long for her to be swept off her feet to marry Herbert Klatte. She and Herbert married on April 21, 1963; establishing their new home on their ranch near Independence, TX, where they would spend the rest of their lives. They enjoyed 52 beautiful years together. Esther was not a stranger for long in her new land, jumping right in to volunteer…at their church, St. John’s Lutheran Prairie Hill; at her children’s schools; with Bread Partners, of which she was a founding member; and visiting the less fortunate in local nursing homes – she was known at each of these places for her big smile, infectious laugh, and heart full of love. She was a member of the Washington County Cattlewomen's organization and the Aggie Mom's Club. Esther enjoyed playing volleyball in the church summer league and shared many great memories of playing in championship games. In addition to being an amazing homemaker and mother, she was the “voice” (unofficial secretary) for Herbert’s real estate agency – Brenham Bellville Land Co. In fact, many prospective buyers from Houston fell in love with her over the phone, and Herbert credited her for many of the successful transactions that their company enjoyed.
Esther was a kid at heart and was always ready for an adventure – rollercoasters and riding on back of a motorcycle in her youth, crazy girl trips with friends and nieces, helicopter rides, and even snowmobile rides in her 70s. If she was asked to join, she was in! Esther Mae and Herbert enjoyed traveling – with each other, family, and friends. Esther saw God in everything she experienced and loved to come back from her travels with seashells she had strategically gathered while walking the beach or special rocks from a mountain that caught her eye. Esther Mae was a social butterfly, she loved people. She was the life of any party she attended, a happy dance partner, and an excited card or domino player. Those lucky enough to find themselves seated next to her at any occasion were always in for a treat. Once you were in her company, she soon had you playing a game or laughing out loud and this joy was something we all came to count on.
Esther’s life was defined by love…she loved faithfully, nonjudgmentally, and without barriers. She knew that love was not just an emotion, but a choice – and she chose to love all of those around her. She loved Jesus deeply and cherished worshipping Him in song and prayer. Her love could nurse sick animals back to health. In fact, we joked that “all dogs go to heaven, and heaven is Esther Mae’s house”. Her love made her the classic hostess – if you were anywhere on her property, she made sure you came in to have a snack, drink, or a meal…and perhaps a game of cards. Most of all, her greatest earthly love was for her family – immediate and her large extended family/friends. Being with her family energized her – she looked forward to every holiday and family reunion and was known to announce her arrival with excitement by honking her car horn as she arrived to each event or loved one’s home. Esther Mae was an example of selfless and unconditional love, she made the world a better place, and her kind soul and zest for life will be greatly missed.
Esther Mae enjoyed a vibrant life until the end. She is survived by her son, Herbert Klatte Jr. and wife Cathie; daughter, Karen (Klatte) An and husband Jack; three grandsons, Tyler Klatte, Charles Austin Klatte, and Sam An; and one granddaughter, Taylor Klatte; and sister Wilma Boeker. She is preceded in death by her husband, Herbert; son Charles Hubert who died at birth in 1964, mother, father, brother, and three sisters. Her granddaughter, grandsons and nephews will serve as honorary pallbearers. We give thanks to the many loving caregivers who have ministered to mom over the years, but in particular, Debra Mann, who has been with Esther and Herbert since 2012 and has become an adopted part of the family.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the Brenham Pet Adoption Center or St. John’s Lutheran Church Prairie Hill.
A visitation will begin on Sunday, December 20, 2020 from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Monday, December 21, 2020 from 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. at Memorial Oaks Chapel.
A private family graveside funeral will be held at St. John’s Lutheran Church Prairie Hill on Tuesday, December 22, 2020.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Memorial Oaks Chapel, 1306 West Main Street, Brenham, TX 77833. To post a tribute to the family, visit www.memorialoakschapel.com.
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