Joan Marlene Esselstyn

January 20, 1934 ‒ April 05, 2019

Howard, Ohio

Joan Marlene (Kehm) Esselstyn, age 85, of Howard, Ohio, passed away on Friday, April 5, 2019 at her residence.  She was born on January 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 where Theodore attended Seminary and she taught in Kansas City, Kansas.  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, Ohio 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 pm on Sunday, April 14, 2019 at the Lakeholm Church of the Nazarene where a memorial service will be held at 11:00 AM  with an hour of calling from 10 am until the time of service on Monday, April 15, 2019 with Pastor Scott Sharpes officiating.

She is survived by her brother, Kenneth Kehm; her husband of 61 years, Theodore Esselstyn; he 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.

  • Joan Esselstyn was a wonderful lady and friend, and most of all a loving wife and life partner to her husband Theodore (Ted). She was a loving mother to her children and all who knew her liked her. I will miss her, but I look forward to seeing her again one day.
    With sincere regrets, Phil Day.

  • Our thoughts & prayers are with long time friends Ted, Karen, Barbara & Bill & the rest of the family. With love from Wendy & Al Siebbeles, Kruin Park, Wilro Park , South Africa.

  • Glad we had the privilege to have knows you all. Blessings and Prayers Neil Meryl Steenkamp. Roodepoort

  • Our prayers and thoughts are with Rev Esselstyn and family during this time. Was a real privilege to work with Joan when I was studying at Nazarene Theological College in Florida, South Africa. Leon and Eldorette Isaacson.

  • We send our condolences to the whole Esselstyn family–Ted,Karen, Barbara and Bill. We remember Joan at the Registrar’s desk at ENC, your wedding on June 7, 1958 and visiting you on Franklin Ave. And all of the good times in Africa—we are blessed! Our family sends their love.May the Lord shine His face upon you all as we anticipate that time when all tears will be wiped away, and” there will be no more “mourning or crying.”
    Love from Chuck and Doris and all of the Gaileys

  • We have great memories of a gracious and gentle lady. It was a privilege to know Joan and work with her and I will never forget her kindness to me.
    Sending our love and condolences to Ted, Karen, Barbara, Bill and all the family.
    Love from Brenda and Bernard Hale

  • When I think Esselstyn I ALWAYS see smiles – that seems to be what defines the entire family. Joan certainly had that characteristic – I recall how instrumental Joan was in reaching out in compassion to the Estey family as we began our cancerous journey with little JJ. Joan led her children in helping our boys by playing with them, babysitting them and being there for them… which in turn was supportive for not just Mark & JJ but also John and myself. Joan had us over for meals, making her home our home. Her tender smiles, love, compassion and unending support were our lifeline. Being a missionary kid I had known and admired her husband “Ted” for years and now I was getting to know and love his wife. This lady he married was pure gold. Well done thou good and faithful wife, mother, colleague and friend.

  • Our sincerest condolences to the Esselstyn family!
    Praying for you all.

    Collin & Shireen Elliott

  • So sad to see this news. Joan was a gracious lady and she will be missed by all who knew her.

  • Special memories of Joan ; Ted and family! A legacy of faithful service and impact on generateions off future leaders in Africa! Fred & Sheryl Tedder

  • I’m sorry to hear that may God Bless you are your family as you go through all this Love you all Katie

  • Our sympathy to Ted and family in the death of Joan. She was part of the Johannesburg Missionary Family that we loved so much during the years we were serving there as well. Carolyn & Anton

  • Our sincere sympathy to the family. We will continue to pray for God’s peace and comfort.
    In Christ, Steve and Heidi Saunier

  • Sadness and joy fill my thoughts. I am sorry to hear of this passing but am filled with joy over the home-going! I only knew Joan as my neighbor around the corner in Apple Valley but was so thankful to get to spend a bit of time with her and Ted at district missions events. Their stories are a beautiful testimony to God’s work in and through their lives. I’m thankful for the impact they made around the world for the Kingdom. Praying for Ted and the rest of the family.

  • Sad to hear of the passing of Joan, I will always remember a wonderful friend. Happy memories will always be with me. Condolences and love to Ted, Karen, Barbara,Bill and all the family. Etta

  • I am saddened to hear of Joan’s passing, but rejoice that she is with the Lord she loved and served so faithfully. May God’s peace surround the family.

  • So sorry to hear of this great loss. While thankful for the eternal hope of heaven the pain of loss is still just as real here. May you feel the love and support of family and friends as you walk this road. Much grace and peace! Rich & Debbie Henry

  • Ted, Amy and I send our sincere condolences. You truly were an inspiration to us both as you cared so gently and faithfully for Joan during her final, difficult chapter. May our Lord Jesus wrap you in his love! May he be near to you in your sorrow, and may you rest in the confidence that a glorious epilogue is yet to be written.

  • It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to a very precious lady. Mrs. Esselstyn was so kind and generous with her love to the family of God. We always loved it when the Esselstyn’s would come to our church for Faith Promise. Our congregations always repaponded so positively to their message of hope and the work of the church in Africa. She was always so loving to the parsonage family. We came to know her when she and Dr. Esselstyn moved to Howard. One of our hilights in life was knowing them both. There is coming a glad morning when we will be united again. What a Glorious day that will be!

  • We were saddened to learn of Joan’s passing, and we send our heartfelt condolences to Ted, Karen, Barbara and Bill, and to their families. We remember well the times that we were with Ted and Joan in Africa, and have so appreciated their contribution to our lives and ministries there. We will be remembering all the family in our prayers in the days ahead. May the comforting presence of our Lord be especially close as you remember Joan and her service for Him.

  • Our thoughts and prayers are with the Esselstyn’s family as they remember the wonderful times together with this Godly lady. What a wonderful legacy and blessings to all of us in the Education system in Africa, as both Joan and Dr. Ted spread the hope and love of Jesus Christ through their dedicated service and commitment. Remembering seeing Joan in 2013 maintaining a welcoming smile even in her health challenges.

    Condolences and love.

    John Opiyo

  • We celebrate the well lived life of Joan Esselstyn.
    On behalf of Ndlovu and Ncala family we pray that God may comfort Dr.Esselsteyn and the whole family. You are in our thoughts.

  • Our heartfelt condolences to Rev Ted and the rest of the family. May God grant you peace in these trying days. Chris and Betsie van der Burgh

  • The Campus Church @ Eastern Nazarene College is celebrating today the life of Joan Esselstyn! Her Children, Bill & Karen, live a life of sacrifice & love, and we see the fruits of this Family’s Legacy here @ the Wollaston Church of the Nazarene almost everyday. thank you…Thank You…THANK YOU!!!!!!! Your Family’s impact on our World is SO VERY MUCH appreciated! We are indebted to you all, Fam!

  • It is very sad to hear this news. Joan will always be remembered as a sweet gentle Christian lady and she and her family were so very instrumental in building the foundations of my families walk with Christ. My deepest condolences to Ted, Karen, Barbara, Bill and the children we never got to meet. You are gone but not forgotten With much love Elaine, John,Linda,Bev and Sally Hamilton.

  • Ted I don’t recall having met Joan, but I remember your visits to Cape Verde and how often you mentioned her in our conversations. May God sustain you and the family. He has been so gracious in my loss of Nettie.