On May 5, 2017, Esther Rose Potts began her day just like any other and suddenly found herself standing with Heaven’s greeting committee. She began her journey to that moment on Nov. 17, 1941.
Born in Miles City, Mont., Esther was the sixth of seven children born to Hugh and Christine (Mann) Haskins. The family lived in the Miles City area until making its way to the Hines Ranch outside Rapelje, Mont. There Esther did most of her growing. It was also there where she learned a bit about cowboying. Graduating from Rapelje High in 1959, she worked on the Hines Ranch until her wedding the next year. On June 12 she married Gaylord Potts in Manson, Iowa, following a courtship that began with a blind date.
After a short stint as an Army wife in North Carolina, Esther returned to her home state where she and Gaylord worked at various ranches and businesses in central and eastern Montana. During that time three daughters were added to the family. In 1977, the Potts’ settled in Absarokee, Mont., to be closer to their own parents, all of whom were living in Absarokee. Following their daughters’ graduations, the pair purchased a place up Shane Ridge and there they lived for 15 years. It was a time of great joy for Esther as she never was one for living in town. The couple made the decision to return to city life and moved back to Absarokee in 2011.
Esther’s greatest satisfaction came from being at her husband’s side, working cows and riding horses until the latter two were taken away due to injury and health. She dearly loved and enjoyed her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She was a prankster and the family expert on birdwatching, cleaning port-a-potties and campfire stew. She loved camping, the night sky and quiet open spaces. She paid attention to detail, was an observer and remembered the impossible like nearly every relative’s phone number. She loved family get-togethers, board games and cheating at board games. She wasn’t big on technology, but she learned to navigate satellite TV and took to texting like a champ, emojis and all. Lilacs, roses, lilies and Trump were her favorites. She appreciated old country musicians, hymns and the Alaskan Bush People. She was kind and faithful, had an ornery streak and at times was a bit stubborn. She was determined to never ever reveal her age, so don’t tell anyone if you figure it out. She was a believer and follower of Jesus. She was and is loved.
Esther took a walk from the beauty of a Montana spring morning here to the unimaginable majesty of there. Quietly, with little fanfare and no warning she left, but if she had to go, not a better day could have been picked. It was a good day to die.
Esther is survived by her husband Gaylord (Absarokee); daughters Roseanna (Joseph) Lohof, Absarokee, Tammi (Mark) Whisler, Park City, Mont., and Noralee (Jim) Fitch, Nampa, Idaho; sisters Muriel Nelson, Billings and Mary Campbell, Roseburg, Oreg.; brother Kenneth Haskins, Seligman Ark.; 11 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and many, many nieces and nephews.
A memorial in Esther’s honor will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, May 13, at the Absarokee Evangelical Church. Please direct any memorials to Special K Ranch, PO Box 479, Columbus MT 59019 or Kruizin’ 4 Seniors, PO Box 67, Absarokee MT 59001.