Esther V. Bleakly

Esther V. Bleakly

Esther V. Bleakly, 94, longtime Cherokee, Iowa resident, passed away Friday morning, September 30, 2011 in the Gordon Memorial Hospital in Gordon.

Esther was the daughter of C.W. and Mary Anne (Donaldson) Johnson of Forsyth, Montana. She was born September 16, 1917 in Forsyth, Mont. She graduated from Forsyth High School in 1937. She attended Albany College, Albany, Ore., and Oregon State College, Corvallis, Ore.

She was united in marriage to James E. Bleakly on September 11, 1942 in Seattle, Wash. In 1944, following Jim’s service in the Air Force during World War II, they moved to Cherokee, Iowa. They purchased Champion Electric in 1952 where Esther worked as clerk and bookkeeper for 35 years until their retirement in 1987.

She was a 50 plus year member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church where she was active in Grace Circle, and served as funeral coordinator. She belonged to the Cherokee Business and Professional Women, Cherokee Fire Dolls, Sanford Museum, Tone Circle, and Cherokee Saddle Club. She enjoyed playing cards, dominoes, crocheting, embroidery (winning blue ribbons for her dish towels even at age 93) and traveling.

She is survived by her two daughters, Kay Bleakly Smith (Tom) of Elbert, Colo., and Jo Ann Bowman (Roger) of Gordon, grandson, Jiles Bowman, of Gordon, and granddaughter, Sara Bowman Reis, of Grayslake, Ill., great grandson, Tyler James Reis also of Grayslake, step grandchildren, Jamie and Rick Smith of Colorado Springs, Colo., sister-in-law Mary Ann Johnson of Forsyth, Mont., along with many nieces, nephews and friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband James on August 3, 1995, her mother and father, two sisters, and five brothers.

Funeral services were held on Wednesday, October 5th, at the St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Cherokee with Rev. Magrey deVega officiating.

Burial was held in the Oak Hill Cemetery at Cherokee, Iowa. There was a family prayer service at the church on Wednesday. Visitation was on Tuesday at the Boothby Funeral Home in Cherokee. Online condolences can be left at

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