HOWARD — Joan Marlene (Kehm) Esselstyn, 85, of Howard, passed away Friday, April 5, 2019, at her residence. She was born Jan. 20, 1934, in Heidelberg Township, Pennsylvania, to the late Casper Jacob and Emma Lillian (Dumann) Kehm.

Upon graduation from high school she worked for several years for the American Bureau of Shipping before she became aware of God’s call upon her life to prepare for service as a missionary. She attended Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Massachusetts, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1959. It was at ENC that she met Theodore Esselstyn. They were married in Pittsburgh on June 7, 1958. After her graduation they moved to Kansas City, Kansas, where Theodore attended Seminary and she taught school. In 1961 their first child Karen was born and they returned to Quincy where she served as Assistant Registrar at ENC and her husband taught. The next year they moved to New Haven where she taught at Woodbridge and then Derby, Connecticut, while Theodore studied at Yale and pastored the Wallingford Church of the Nazarene. Their children Barbara and William were born in 1966 and 1968. In November 1968 they went to Africa as missionaries with the Church of the Nazarene to teach in the theological college at Arthurseat, South Africa. For 34 years she served with her husband as a teacher and administrator in the educational work of the Church of the Nazarene throughout sub-Sahara Africa where they started, taught and assisted in the development of Nazarene colleges in more than a dozen countries and the Africa Nazarene University, Nairobi, Kenya. They retired in March of 2002 and settled in Howard, where they have lived since that time serving in the Lakeholm Church of the Nazarene and at Mount Vernon Nazarene University.

Friends may call from 2-4 p.m., Sunday, April 14, at the Lakeholm Church of the Nazarene where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. with an hour of calling from 10 a.m. until the time of service Monday, April 15, with Pastor Scott Sharpes officiating.

She is survived by her brother, Kenneth Kehm; her husband of 61 years, Theodore Esselstyn; her three children, Karen Esselstyn, Barbara Day and William Esselstyn; four grandchildren, Brandon and Benjamin Day and Jacob and Amy Esselstyn.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the African Nazarene University Esselstyn Scholarship Fund, c/o Nazarene Foundation, 17001 Prairie Star Pkwy, Ste. 200, Lenexa, Kansas 66220.

The Dowds-Snyder Funeral Home is honored to serve the family of Joan Marlene Esselstyn.


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