Esther Elisabeth Durrschmidt was born August 7, 1921 in Dresden, Germany, the only child of Oskar Graulig and Elisabeth Kuhn Graulig. Her family immigrated to America in 1926 and Esther grew up in the German district of Queens in New York City.
Esther was a talented artist. She attended Queens College after high school studying fine art and left college to work as an illustrator for a fashion designer in the Garment District in Manhattan. Her beautiful drawings are cherished by her family.
Esther married her childhood friend Ralph Durrschmidt in 1945 and she shifted her talents to raising 6 children at their home on Long Island, NY.
She was an accomplished gardener and loved rock hounding — somehow coaxing Ralph to help her with a sledgehammer and pick axe as they traveled around the country.
Esther and Ralph resettled in Port Orange, FL for 26 years and Esther discovered orchids! She loved growing them in and around their home and entering flower shows, winning many awards.
When Ralph passed away in 2013 Esther reinvented herself once again, embracing her new life in Montana. She was thrilled by rodeo and all things western, especially country music! Sunday music at the Sapphire Lutheran Homes was her favorite day of the week, when she donned her signature black boots and toe tapped to “The Boys” she favored.
“Montana Momma” was preceded in death by her husband Ralph of 68 years and a son Paul. She leaves her daughters Carol Haskell of Crawfordsville, IN; Jan Durrschmidt of Stanfordville, NY; Gail Heig (Bill) of Deer River, MN; Nancy Bender (Joel) of Hamilton, MT; and a son Richard Durrschmidt of Miles City, MT along with eight grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
Esther was laid to rest in the Western Montana State Veterans Cemetery in Missoula with her husband earlier this year. Daly-Leach Chapel was in charge of the arrangements.