ESTHER VIOLA VAN TASSEL
AUGUST 17, 1923 – FEBRUARY 24, 2023
March 23, 2023
Esther Viola (Funk) Van Tassel was born on August 17, 1923, in Goessel, Kansas where German was her first language and piano lessons in elementary school her first love. She graduated from Goessel high school where she was a member of the choir, a piano soloist and part of a trio in stage productions and the Senior Play. After graduation, Esther became a full-fledged farmer, along with her father, until age 21. Then, she moved to Wichita, Kansas where she continued her musical journey accompanying friends and as church secretary and pianist at Lorraine Mennonite Church.
Esther had an opportunity to transfer with Mutual Insurance of New York (MONY) to their Beverly Hills office. She was sworn to secrecy knowing which movie stars had serious health issues and needed "special" insurance. Her own 1945 whole life insurance policy was found recently! Later she worked for the George Elkins Company, a commercial realtor, where she collected the stamps from all of the mail she opened over the years.
She started attending First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood and in the Ambassador singles Sunday School Class met her husband, Everett. He lived on the same street in West Hollywood and recognizing her at the bus stop, asked if she needed a ride. When he asked her to accompany him, she first thought it was on piano. He meant forever! They were married on March 28, 1959 in the church's Wylie Chapel family room and celebrated their 55th anniversary before Everett passed away on August 5, 2014. Even though they made their married home in Culver City, California, there was no question that they would travel to Hollywood for church every Sunday. Both sang in various choirs over the years, including during one of Billy Graham's crusades.
Kathy Jane, their only daughter, was born in 1960 and their only granddaughter, Rachel, in 1993. Everett and Esther enjoyed hosting five foster daughters during the 1970s and also were lead Sunday School teachers for kindergarten for over ten years. After raising Kathy, she returned to work in the Culver City School District for several years as a secretary. She was a master seamstress creating many matching outfits for she and her daughter and granddaughter, commissioned prom dresses and her largest project, Kathy's wedding gown from several styles she patterned together, as well as all of the bridesmaid dresses.
The last year has been full of adventure for Esther between hosting her granddaughter's wedding shower and serving as flower girl in her wedding. Then, last summer traveling to Germany and Austria to see the Passion Play in Oberagammau, Germany many Mozart historical sites in Germany and Austria.
Esther is survived by her daughter Kathy Dunlop, son-in-law Dave Dunlop, granddaughter, Rachel Dunlop and her husband, Kevin Cantor, Brother Marvin Funk, sister-in-law Elfrieda Funk and many nieces and nephews.
Viewing (1:30-2:00) and Internment (3:00) will be held on April 5th at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills.
Celebration of Esther's life will be held on April 15th (2:00) at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood - Wylie Chapel.
Consider donations in lieu of flowers to: Hollywood Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, Teen Bell Choir Fund - In Honor of Esther Van Tassel, 1760 N. Gower Street, Hollywood, CA 90028