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Welcome to the memorial page for

Esther C. Link

September 19, 2017

Esther Christina Link, 93, died peacefully at home on Tuesday, September 19, 2017, beginning a well-deserved rest after a life well spent.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, September 25, 2017, at Holy Spirit Parish, Sacred Heart Church, Dubuque, with Rev. Andrew A-Mensah officiating. Burial will be in Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Dubuque, IA. Friends may call from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 24, 2017 at Leonard Funeral Home & Crematory, 2595 Rockdale Road where a wake service will be at 3:30 p.m.

Esther was born on January 18, 1924, in North Buena Vista, Iowa, daughter of John and Christina (Zimmer) Schmidt. She married Marion J. Link on August 12, 1943; he died on January 5, 1989. She later married John F. "Bud" Hefel Jr. on November 17, 1990; he died December 29, 1998.

Esther took her first job at 14 as a live-in maid and cook, and spent the rest of her life working hard at all her many roles, including cleaning houses into her 80s. She was a long time member of Holy Spirit Catholic Church (Sacred Heart) and a member of the Secular Franciscan Order since 1959. She loved to play softball on Monday nights at Comiskey Park with her grandkids and other family and friends. She was always ready to play a good game of euchre, and enjoyed quilting, especially with the ladies in Buenie.

Esther is survived by 7 children: Gerald (Phyllis) Link, James “Jim”(Linda) Link, David (Judy) Link, Joy (Mike) Behnke, Carol Link, Jean (Mark) Kohn, and Greg (Sue) Link, all of Dubuque; 2 foster children: Charles (Rita) Wagner and Donna (Verlon) Bailey to whom she was “Mom-For-A-Little-While”; 12 grandchildren: Patty (Rich) Berrier, Cathy (Grant) Copic, Eric (William) Link, Neal (Kim) Link, Jason (Shannon) Link, Jolene (Dan) Koopmann, Dawn Link, Tricia and Laura Behnke, Chris (Sara) Kohn, Darren (Sherese) Kohn, and Brian Link; 13 great-grandchildren; 9 step-children: Lorna Paisley, Dennis (Sharon) Hefel, Beverly (Bill) Rettenmeier, Connie Kintzle, Mary Kay “Punkie” (Phil) Birkel, Brian (Dianne) Hefel, Trudy Hefel, Amy Eudaley, and Shawn (Perry) Bromen; and their children and grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by a daughter, Janet Link (in infancy); a grandson, Jeffrey Link; a great-granddaughter, Samantha “Sammie” Link; a foster daughter, Carol (Eugene) Laugesen; 5 sisters: Thelma Schmidt (in infancy), Marie (John) Spielbauer, Alvina (Elton) Riddle, Rosina (William) O’Toole, and Walburga “Rita” (John) Pothoff; 2 brothers, Wilfred (Marie) and Leonard (Anna) Schmidt; and 2 sisters-in-law: Stella (Wilbur) Saylor and Irma (John) Beitzel.

Esther was the epitome of Christian kindness, and dedicated her life to helping others. Her home was always open, and she made the best kneffles and apple crisp, and served them up with heaps of common sense, comfort, and understanding. We are all better people for having known and loved her.

In lieu of flowers, an Esther Link Memorial Fund has been established. Online condolences may be left for the family at

The family would like to extend a special thank you to Esther’s niece, Mary CR Schmidt, Dr. Kristin Nelson, and to Hospice of Dubuque for their loving care of Esther.

 Service Information

September 24, 2017

1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Leonard Funeral Home & Crematory
2595 Rockdale Road
Dubuque, IA 52003

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