Esther Richards of Perry


Esther Richards, 90, of Perry and formerly of Grinnell died Wednesday, May 31, 2023, at the Dallas County Hospital in Perry, Iowa.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 6 at the Smith Funeral Home in Grinnell, with the Rev. David Pinkerton officiating. Visitation, with the family present to receive friends, will be held one hour prior to the service. Interment will be at Barnes City Cemetery in Barnes City, Iowa.

Esther Eva Richards was born to Hiram and Fern (Lockard) Walker on April 15, 1933, near Montezuma, Iowa. During her early years, she lived on the family farm near Montezuma.

Esther was united in marriage to Harold Emery Richards on Oct. 22, 1951, in Oskaloosa, Iowa. The couple moved to Grinnell in 1953, where they made their home for more than 45 years.

In May 1958 they welcomed their daughter, Pamela Sue.

During the early years, Esther helped raise many children by doing in-home daycare. She spent her later years working in housekeeping at Friendship Manor in Grinnell.

In March 2018 Esther moved to Perry to be closer to her family after suffering a fall. She cherished the many friends she made with the staff and residents while living at Spring Valley Retirement in Perry.

She always loved working with her flowers, going to garage sales, fishing and going to the casino. Her greatest love was going to the Iowa State Fair each and every year.

Left to honor her memory is her daughter, Pamela (Larry) Deardorff of Perry; grandchildren, Jennifer (Nicholas Ray) Hollingsworth of Perry, Ryan (Moni) Deardorff of Savage, Minnesota, and Nicholas (Nikki) Deardorff of Perry; great-grandchildren, Madelynn Hollingsworth, Lily Grace Hollingworth, Jax Hollingsworth, Boomer Deardorff, Dysen Deardorff, Renaud Deardorff, Aryana Karimi and Rayha Karimi; brother, Dean (Joyce) Walker of Hiawatha; sister, Nora Reece of Cedar Rapids; and her nieces and nephews; as well as many dear friends.

Esther was preceded in death by her husband, Harold, in 1993; parents, Hiram and Fern Walker; brothers, Venzell, Melvin, Leslie and Donnie; and her sisters, Grace Mason, Oma Leopard and Verna Bolibaugh.

Memorials may be designated to the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation and mailed in care of the Smith Funeral Home and Crematory, PO Box 368, Grinnell, IA 50112. Memories and condolences may be shared with Esther’s family online at


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