Esther M. Dunkle

Apr 14, 2017
Esther Dunkle

Danville, Pa. — Esther Mary (Harner) Dunkle, 87, will be remembered as a loving wife, a faithful Christian, the mother of six children and a talented crochet artist. She died April 13, 2017.

Esther was born May 9, 1929, in Mount Carmel, Pa., the daughter of Arthur and Mabel (Biddinger) Harner.

She and her siblings grew up in a Pennsylvania coal-mining region. When she was 7 years old, she found a dynamite cap and brought it home, not knowing what it was. She lost part of one arm below the elbow in the resulting explosion.

If this "disability" had any effect on her, it was to forge her characteristic determination. Her children and grandchildren recall that "can't" was not a word in her vocabulary.

During World War II, she wrote letters to James F. Dunkle, who served as a medic in the Philippines. They were married June 7, 1946, after he returned from the war.

She raised five boys and a girl, and often remarked in later years, "I never dropped any of you." She was a lifelong member of the Assemblies of God church and passed her faith on to her children. She read her Bible twice a day without fail and was remembered for reading Bible stories to her children.

She worked at the Milton Shoe Factory for more than 20 years. She was later an Avon distributor and won six Albee awards, becoming a member of the Avon President's Club.

Any suggestion that she might not be able to do something was taken as a gauntlet thrown down. She drove standard shift.

She had a passion for knitting and crocheting, creating blankets, sweaters, dolls, stuffed animals and clowns for her grandchildren.

She took care of James when he suffered from Alzheimer's disease with the help of her son David and his wife, Sue, allowing James to live at home rather than go into a nursing facility.

Their legacy is six children, 17 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.

She was predeceased by her husband, James F. Dunkle, her sister, Virginia Walt, her brothers William and David Harner and her great-granddaughter, Alexis Dunkle.

She is survived by her sisters Beatrice Oakes and Ruth A. Stahl; and her children, Julie Papagrigorakis, Joseph F. Dunkle, Lewis W. Dunkle, James F. Dunkle Jr., David E. Dunkle, and Timothy G. Dunkle.

Arrangements will be announced.

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