Esther Mohnsen

10-Esther-school pictureEsther Mohnsen, 96, of Leigh, died Tuesday,

July 12, 2016, at Columbus Community Hospital.


Funeral Service

Monday, July 18, 2016, 10:30 A.M.

St. John's Lutheran Church

Leigh, Nebraska

Rev. Theresa Brezenski

Visitation Sunday 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Kracl Leigh Memorial Chapel

Monday 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the church

Lunch in the church basement following the committal at Leigh Cemetery

Memorials to St. John's Lutheran Church

Esther (Claussen) Mohnsen was born on the home farm in Stanton County near Leigh on October 20, 1919 to parents Peter and Elsie (Dasenbrock) Claussen. She attended rural school at District 31 in Stanton County and graduated from Leigh High School in the class of 1937. In 1940 she married Harold Mohnsen at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Leigh. The couple had two daughters. They farmed south of Leigh for many years and moved into town in 1985. Esther received her Bachelor of Science degree in Education, magna cum laude, from Midland Lutheran College in 1971, having taken all classes at night or in the summer.


Esther taught in rural schools for thirty years, served as principal for seven years, and then substituted for twenty years. She was the author of a bicentennial play “Our Heritage”, presented by students in several towns. She served the Nebraska Educational Service Unit 7 as a board member representing Colfax County for twenty years and was state secretary for ten years.


She was an active member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, served as church organist for sixty-four years, taught Sunday School, was active in Lutheran Church Women, wrote the 65th and 75th year church histories, assisted with the centennial history and attended annual conventions. She also served as organist in neighboring churches, St. Paul’s of rural Leigh, St. Peter’s in Creston, the Congregational Church in Leigh, and also for Colonial Manor in Clarkson.


She was the co-founder of the House of Yesteryear, established in 1972 to preserve Leigh history in an 1875 building that was the town’s first general store, and served as President until moving to Columbus.  She frequently served as tour guide.

She wrote the history of Leigh for the book, Nebraska: Our Towns, is listed in the Bicentennial edition of Who’s Who in Nebraska, and received one of the 1994 National Community Service awards from AARP. At that time, she averaged 500 hours annually in volunteer work.


Mrs. Mohnsen enjoyed traveling and took many trips overseas to European countries, Israel and Egypt. She was a frequent presenter of slide shows based on her travels, and was also known for her slide show presentation on barns.


She was a member of the Columbus Area Retired Teachers Association, Delta Kappa Gamma, Women’s Club, Community Club, Jolly Wilsonettes Extension Club and a charter member of the Leigh Saddle Club, frequently participating in trail rides and square dancing with her horse, “Ginger”. She maintained an active life style until moving to Columbus.


She is survived by daughter Rosalind of Boston, MA, granddaughter Karin Esposito, (husband Karim) and great grandsons Avi and Miran of Vienna, Austria, sister-in-law Marian Claussen of Denver, CO, and several cousins, nieces and nephews.


She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Harold, daughter Andrea Esposito of Brooklyn, NY, brother Peter Claussen, Jr., and nephews Peter Claussen III and David Mohnsen