Cover photo for Esther Lux's Obituary
Esther Lux Profile Photo
1933 Esther 2020

Esther Lux

April 30, 1933 — September 4, 2020

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Esther Lux, age 87 of Lead, died peacefully on Friday, September 4, 2020, surrounded by her loving family and friends.

The funeral service will be held 10:30 A.M. Saturday, September 12, 2020 at the Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Lead.   Visitation will be held 5 to 7 pm Friday at the church.  Interment will take place at Mountain Lawn Cemetery, near Lead.

Funeral arrangements are with Leverington Funeral Home of the Northern Hills in Belle Fourche. Esther’s funeral service will be live-streamed on her obituary page located on the funeral home’s website:

Memorials are preferred to Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church.

Esther Merkel was born April 30, 1933 on a farm southeast of Ashley, North Dakota.  She was the daughter of Julius and Katherina (George) Merkel.  Esther was baptized May 25, 1933 in the Evangelical Lakes Lutheran Church, a country church west of Forbes, ND with Pastor C.H.W. Shulz.  She was confirmed June 27, 1948 at Salem Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Long Lake, SD by Pastor F.J. Doyen.

While living on the farm, Esther milked cows by hand and then separated the milk by turning a separator.  She also brought in fresh water by the bucketful, scrubbed the laundry on a washboard and hung it on the line to dry.  She also ironed almost everything with a flat iron, which had been heated on the cookstove.  She plucked and dressed the chickens every night before dinner, hoed the garden in the summer, and harvested vegetables in the fall – some of which were picked daily.  Esther received her education through the 8th grade in a one-room schoolhouse.  She and her brothers walked one mile to school.  In the winter, her dad would pull them on sleds powered by horses.  When she began school, Esther only spoke German, just like the other students.

Esther married Adolph Lux on December 26, 1952 at the farmhouse of her birthplace, by Pastor Gavers.  She then moved to Lead with her husband.  She was a member of Grace Lutheran Church in Deadwood where she belonged to LWML and taught Vacation Bible School.  She and Adolph were youth group leaders for many years, leaving behind many fun and blessed memories.

On January 20, 1980, Esther and Adolph transferred their membership to Bethel Lutheran Church in Lead, now known as Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church.  Esther was a member of the Lead Fire Department Auxiliary (The Fire Flies), where she was once nominated for the Woman of Achievement.  She was very active in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts until both Harley and Mark made Eagle Scout.  She was also a member of the Golden Gang, where in 2009 she received the Grier Chamber Award which is awarded to someone who has made a positive impact on Lead through efforts in volunteering and community service.  Esther loved Lead.  On her 80th birthday, the mayor of Lead declared April 30th as “Esther Lux Day” and that meant so much to her.  Esther enjoyed working.  Since she didn’t have a college degree, she worked many different jobs.  In addition to her farm chores, she worked as a waitress at the Hotel and Home Café’ in Eureka SD.  Then she spent many years at the Nugget Café in Lead.  During the first Homestake strike, she worked at the Stop and Shop, 8 years at Tony’s Liquor, 5 years at Hilltop Grocery, 2 years at Twin City Cash and Carry, 3 years at F.I. Thorpe Jewelry.  After that she shoveled snow for the mall and many other places.  She loved outdoors, so that was the perfect job.  She also had her own painting business for 8 years and worked at the Lucky Wrangler Casino for 3 years.  During the second Homestake strike, she worked at Super 8 for 4 years, Lead-Deadwood School District, the Wickiup Cabins, and she cleaned cabins at Terry Peak, Deer Mountain B & B, and other cleaning jobs.  Esther thanked God every day for giving her health and strength to do so.  She was always willing to help those in need.

Her greatest joy was spending time with her 6 grandchildren, making jelly and baking.  She often said that “my biggest pride is my family.”  She loved the outdoors, gardening, hiking, camping, refinishing furniture, singing, and dancing with Adolph.  The couple won many first-place awards in polka contests in SD, ND, MN, and WY.  Esther grew up with a family of music.  They never had a gathering without guitar, banjo, accordions, or piano, which her dad and brothers would play.

Esther is survived by her son, Mark (Theresa) Lux of Rapid City; daughter-in-law, Deb Lux of Rapid City ; 6 grandchildren, Haley (Keegan) Kingery, Garret (Brooklyn) Lux, Daric (Trista) Myers, Angelleah (Austin) Darrington, Julieanna (Justin) Ekeren, Mykellee Lux; and 9 great grandchildren, Joseph, Isabella, Aaliyah, Kysen, Lane, Harleigh, Liam, Jhett, Fellynne; and nieces and nephews.  She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; son, Harley; 3 sisters, Irene Dewald Haro, Lilly Reuther, Loretta Riester; 4 brothers, Enoch, twin brother, Norman, Delmer, and Dennis Merkel.

May God Bless the Memory of Esther Lux.

Celebration of Life Service

10:30 A.M. – Saturday – September 12, 2020

Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church

Lead, South Dakota



Pastor Will Anderson



Processional Hymn – “Shall We Gather at the River”

Cong. Hymn – “This Little Light of Mine”

Recessional Hymn – “I’ll Fly Away”

Virginia Eastmo, organist



Ray Jilek                                                          Jim Phillips

Frank Pavich                                                  Dave Rossi

Pat Peters                                                Jeremy Schultes



Mountain Lawn Cemetery

Lead, South Dakota


Memorials are preferred to Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church.


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Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, September 11, 2020

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Mountain time)

Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church

825 W Main St, Lead, SD 57754

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Starts at 10:30 am (Mountain time)

Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church

825 W Main St, Lead, SD 57754

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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