Cover photo for Zola Doreene Esau's Obituary
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Zola Doreene Esau

October 11, 1927 — August 31, 2023

North Newton

Zola Doreene Esau


Zola Doreene (Smith) Esau passed from this life to the next 31 August 2023 at Kidron Bethel Village. She was born to Edith Eva (Base) and Lamont Lee Smith at the St. Rose hospital in Great Bend, Kansas on 11 October 1927. She was the first grandchild on both sides of the family. At the age of five she knew she wanted to go to college, become a nurse and get married. Edith and Lamont were tenant farmers in the Pawnee Rock, Kansas area, moving several times as they raised their family.

Zola graduated from Larned, Ks high school in 1945. She attended Bethel College, North Newton, Ks, and the Bethel Deaconess Hospital school of nursing in Newton, graduating in 1950. Her nursing classmates have been lifelong friends. Sister Maeanna put Zola in charge of the nursery at Bethel Hospital while she finished a BS degree at Bethel College, graduating in 1952.

On 21 June 1953 Zola married Elbert Edward Esau. Two months later they left for Greece where they served with Mennonite Central Committee as village nurse and PAX unit leader. While in Greece Zola gave birth to their first girl, Clarith Ann. When Zola and Elbert returned to Kansas, they began farming in northwest Butler County, Ks near the Esau home place. Three boys were born in due time, David, Eldon, and Nathan. Zola occasionally worked nights at Bethel Hospital, kept food on the table, canned fruit in the summer, and supported the children in 4-H. The family was completed with daughter Doreene Elizabeth. A car accident in 1969 took the life of Clarith Ann and injured the rest of the family and a neighbor boy.

When Doreene was in high school Zola resumed her nursing career working at several area nursing homes until she retired in her 70s. Zola and Elbert left the farm in 2011 to a home in North Newton where they continued their involvement in activities at Bethel College and the Mennonite Church. Zola cared for Elbert thru the stages of Parkinson’s Disease. Zola’s last years were lived at Kidron Bethel Village.

Zola is predeceased by her husband Elbert Esau, daughter Clarith Ann Esau, her parents, aunts, uncles, and some cousins, a niece, and a nephew.

She is survived by children David (Aileen), Eldon (Janice Regier), Nathan (Tee Huang), and Doreene. Grandchildren Aaron (Jenn), Evan (Maryanne), Simon (Carissa), Anthony, Alex (Haley Wattson) Esau, Cody, and Eylish. Great grandchildren Walter, Ezekiel, Kenedy, Cameron, Cedar, Aurora, and Jade. Also surviving are some cousins, nieces, and nephews.

Memorial donations may be given to Mennonite Central Committee or the Bethel College nursing program.

Visitation with family and friends will be at Lamb Funeral Home in Whitewater, Monday, September 4, 2023 from 6-8 p.m.

Funeral service at the Emmaus Mennonite Church rural Whitewater, Saturday September 9, 2023 at 11 a.m.

Internment in the old Emmaus Cemetery Friday September 1, 2023 at 3 p.m.

Arrangements facilitated by the Yazel-Megli Funeral Homes,

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Zola Doreene Esau, please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Friday, September 1, 2023

Starts at 3:00 pm (Central time)

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Celebration of Life

Monday, September 4, 2023

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

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Memorial Service

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

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