Esther Annette "Estey" (Wood) Crowden
||Esther "Estey" Annette Wood Crowden died on May 19, 2015 after an extended battle with multiple
myeloma. She was born on January 10, 1921, in the small town of Hillisburg, Indiana to George and
She had one older sister, Gladys, and together they were quite a team. She spent all her early years
attending school in Frankfort, Indiana, and her high school years living in the farming community of Goodland,
She was crowned Indiana Corn Queen in a state wide beauty contest when she was 18 years old. A photo of
Esther wearing her crown was published in LIFE magazine on November 13, 1939
While living in Goodland, she met the love of her life, Tom Crowden. After graduating from Goodland High S
chool, she attended South Bend business college for 2 years and then came home to marry Tom on June 29,
1941. When World War II was over, they moved, along with their newborn daughter, Sally, to Peru, Indiana,
where they then had two more children, Vicki and Fred.
Esther and Tom were very active in the community and their children's lives. They attended many dance and
piano recitals, baseball games, and every one of their children's school events. Esther and Tom were active in
the Methodist church in both Peru and later in Culver, Indiana. Esther was a PTO mother, Cub Scout den
mother, member of Tri Kappa sorority, President of the Culver Mothers Club, a member of the Peru Country
Club and Maxinkuckee Country Club. For many years she was a realtor in Culver, Indiana, and a tour leader for
numerous trips around the United States. She lived in Estero, Florida for several years and was very active in
Esther's great passion was her family, including her grandchildren and great-grandchildren who knew her as
Mama Estey. Her other passion was contract bridge. She was a life master and participated in many bridge
tournaments around the country.
After Tom died in 1988, she was a widow for the next 27 years of her life but continued to lead a very active
life, traveling to China in her 80's, taking a 40-day cruise in the South Pacific, and traveling anywhere to help
with her grandchildren.
Her favorite place in the world to be, however, was Lake Maxinkuckee in Culver, Indiana. She and Tom owned
homes there and in Peru at 80 East Main where they raised their children. For the last 20 years she spent
summers at the lake home of her daughter, Sally, and son-in-law, Denny Barrett She loved watching her
grandchildren and great grandchildren grow up on the lake.
She will be remembered for her love of life, her smile, a twinkle in her eye, her sense of humor (although a little
crazy at times!), her ability to talk to anyone, her love of dancing, her positive outlook on life and her ability to
find the good in everyone, but most of all for her spirit and determination to live life as long and as best she
could through a long and painful illness.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Tom Crowden, her father and mother, George and Bertha Wood,
her sister Gladys Campbell and several wonderful friends. She lived to the age of 94. What a long and amazing
Her strength and will to survive will forever leave a lasting impression on those she left behind, including her
children: daughter Sally Barrett and husband Denny, daughter Vicki Schaffer and husband Fred, and son Fred
Crowden and his wife Jo Ann. A close family friend, Suzy Sims, was considered Esther's "third daughter".
Esther is also survived by eight grandchildren: Brett Henry and his wife Nancy, Shane Hadley and husband Tom,
Blake Henry and wife Traci, Erik Barrett and wife Hilary, Lauri Barrett, Bryan Barrett and wife Jackie, Elizabeth
Ryan and husband Steve and Anna Sorenson and her husband Kirk. She is also survived by twelve great
grandchildren: Griffin, Regan, Carter and Blake Hadley, Emma & Libby Barrett, Will & Drew Barrett, Trevor,
Kaitlyn and Kallie Sorenson, and three month old Tabitha Ryan.
The family would like to thank Senior Home Companions for all their help and loving care over the last few years,
especially Katie Elam whom she loved dearly, and caregiver Rachel Brosius, who was there whenever Estey
needed her. They also appreciate the kind help they received from the staff at Magnolia Springs at Bridgewater
assisted living center where she resided, and Great Lakes Caring Hospice. They would also like to thank her
wonderful doctors, Dr. Kevin McCallum and Dr. Stephen Schultz.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society or Peyton Manning Children's Hospital
at St. Vincent.
A calling will be held on Thursday, May 28, from 10:00 to 11:00 AM at Leppert Mortuary Nora Chapel, 740 East
86th Street, Indianapolis, IN. A memorial service will follow immediately after the calling. S
he will be buried next to Papa Tom in a private service in Goodland, IN.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Leppert Mortuary, Nora Chapel. You may send a condolence to the
family at: www. leppertmortuary. com
Published in the The Indianapolis Star on May 24, 2015
Thomas James "Tom" Crowden
Birth: May 1, 1918 Goodland Newton County Indiana
Death: Oct. 1, 1988
Burial: Goodland Cemetery Goodland Newton County Indiana
son of Fred H Crowden & Elizabeth M Ruffing