Esther Merz Flory Soderstrom, age 90, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on December 4, 2012. She was born on March 12, 1922 in Conklin, Michigan to Martin and Amanda Merz. Esther graduated Salutatorian of her class at Sparta High School and later attended St. Mary’s School of Nursing in Grand Rapids where she became a Licensed Practical Nurse. Always generous and giving, Esther worked as an LPN at Sunshine Hospital (now Kent Community), Grand Rapids Osteopathic (now Metro Hospital), St. Mary’s Hospital, Clark Retirement Home, and Grant Hospital. She later continued her service to others as a Private Duty Nurse and through Elder Care visits. Esther was devoted to her faith, being a lifelong member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Conklin. A woman of many interests and talents, Esther enjoyed crossword and jigsaw puzzles, plastic canvas and cross stitch, reading murder mysteries, and her beloved Detroit Tigers. She was preceded in death by husbands, Arthur Flory II, Walter Soderstrom, daughter, Tonia Clements, brother, Martin Merz, and sister, Flora Damaske. She is survived by her children, Arthur (Karen) Flory III of Belmont, Mark (Cheryl) Flory of Petersburg, Bill (Cris) Flory of Sand Lake, Cheri (Walter Prothero) Flory of Eden, Utah; step-children, Marilyn Nott of Grand Rapids, Bruce Soderstrom of Kalamazoo; grandchildren, Rachel (Tim) Todish, Nathan Flory, Matthew (Amy) Flory, Lisa Flory, Samantha Flory, William Flory II, Caitlin Soderstrom, Ben Soderstrom; and four great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her sisters and brothers, Gertrude Wright of St. Paul, MN, Vera (Clarence) Reither of Jacksonville, IL, Walter (Lu Ann) Merz of St. Paul, MN, Rev. Earl (Glennice) Merz of Spring Lake, and Eunice Florip of Grand Rapids, and many nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends at the Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford, Michigan on Friday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 10 until 11 a.m. at the church. A Service of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1351 Harding St., Conklin, Michigan, with Pastor Mark Oswald. Interment in Trinity Lutheran Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to Trinity Lutheran Church, Conklin or Heartland Hospice, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford www.pedersonfuneralhome.com