Carolyn (Asher) Koester, 1991

Winter 2018 (January 13, 2018)

Carolyn (Asher) Koester, 70, of West Union, Iowa, passed away peacefully Nov. 4, 2017, at the Good Samaritan Society – West Union due to complications of scleroderma. Services were held Nov. 7, at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Eldorado. After 25 years of struggling with the disease, Carolyn donated her body to Mayo Health Clinic in an effort to further the study of scleroderma. Carolyn Koester was born Feb. 15, 1947, in Lincoln, Neb. She was the daughter of Robert and Helene (Alfrey) Asher. Early in her life, she and her family moved from Lincoln and settled in Thornton, Colo., a suburb of Denver. During her childhood, Carolyn grew a love for Colorado that she never lost, including views of the mountains, camping with her father and siblings and, of course, the Broncos. This is where Carolyn was also baptized in the Christian faith on April 1, 1956, and confirmed in the Lutheran Church on May 27, 1962. After graduation from Thornton (Colo.) High School, Carolyn discovered she had an allergy to the grass on the Colorado State University campus, which led her to change plans and transfer to Dana College in Blair, Neb. This is where she met Kenneth Koester. The couple were married Aug. 26, 1967, and immediately started traveling for military service. During their travels, their sons were born, and they met many of their lifelong friends, who remained important to her until the end. Upon returning to the Koester family farm near Eldorado, Iowa, Carolyn held a variety of positions in community businesses until 1988, when she returned to Luther College to obtain a degree in social work. When she received her B.A. degree in 1991, her passionate advocacy for the rights of elderly members of society began. Unfortunately, this was also the year that Carolyn was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called scleroderma. Carolyn worked as a social worker for several adult care facilities in northeast Iowa. The majority of her working years were spent at the Good Samaritan Society – West Union. During this time she worked with many boards and organizations to ensure that the highest quality of care was being provided to residents of these facilities. She also worked closely with the Alzheimer’s Association to help with fundraising. With her guidance, there were several years in a row when the West Union Alzheimer’s Memory Walk was one of the largest fundraising efforts in the state of Iowa. Outside of her career, Carolyn will be remembered by her family as passionately loving her grandchildren and her flowerbeds. Over the years, her scleroderma limited the activities in which she could participate. However, she loved being present. She was at all of the music, acting and athletic events she could possibly attend. She loved the noise of all her grandchildren playing together. Most of all, she just loved being near them and watching them mature. Until recent years, Carolyn would work with the grandchildren to plan and execute extremely colorful flowerbeds that she enjoyed watching flourish. Upon reflection, the word that best defines the life of Carolyn Anne (Asher) Koester is “passionate.” She was passionate about her family, especially the love of her grandchildren. She was passionate about the rights and respectful care of the elderly. She was passionate for many years about fundraising and partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association. If she cared about an issue, her passion was reflected in her actions and words surrounding that issue. Carolyn is survived by her husband, Kenneth Koester of West Union; her children, Kenneth II and Kimberly (Jones) of Spokane, Wash., and Michael and Phyllis (Davis) Koester of Manlius, N.Y.; her grandchildren, Bret and Sally (Wagner), Joshua, Mariah, Asher, Preston and Claire Koester; her siblings, Catherine (Asher) Lombardi, Richard Asher, and Kevin Asher; many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; her in-laws, Charlie and Frances (Wagner) Koester; and her brother, Robert Asher.

Carolyn (Asher) Koester