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Esther Marie Gothard

February 14, 1942 - August 14, 2023

Burial Date August 26, 2023

Services to honor Marie’s life will be held at 2:00pm Saturday, August 26, 2023, at the Upperglade Presbyterian Church, Upperglade, WV. With Rev. Robert “Bob” Bondurant officiating. Burial will follow at West Virginia Memorial Gardens, Calvin, WV. A gathering of family and friends will be held from 12:00pm until the time of service Saturday at the Church.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.morrisfuneralcowenwv.com

Services entrusted to the care of Morris Funeral Home

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Esther Marie Gothard of Upperglade, WV, age 81, cherished mother, grandmother, and friend, joined the Angels on August 14, 2023, after a late-stage diagnosis of lung cancer (though Marie was a lifelong nonsmoker).

Born in Richwood, WV on February 14, 1942, to Richard and Vivian Chapman, Marie was a true Valentine’s child whose tenderheartedness and goodness uplifted the lives of all those she encountered. Richard was a WWII Navy veteran while Vivian was a doting and caring mother who delighted in her daughters. Marie adored her elder sister, Lynda Lyle, and together they enjoyed summers spent on the Florida Gulf coast with their maternal grandparents and sweet Aunt Tena, where Marie developed a lifelong love of the ocean.

In 1959, newly turned seventeen, Marie enrolled at Glenville State College to major in education. In one of Marie’s early freshman year experiences, Marie and her girlfriends had fun picking out their would-be future husbands. Marie spotted a cute junior boy, yelling out of his dorm room window at all the passersby, and declared to her girlfriends, “He’s the one for me.” As it turned out, Marie was exactly right and she did indeed marry the dashing, young window-shouter, Marvin Richard Gothard, on December 16, 1961.

After two cross-country road trips, and then graduation, Marvin and Marie settled in Cowen, WV and soon became an integral part of the community. Marvin worked as a high school PE/Health teacher and coach and Marie settled into place as the quintessential kindergarten teacher. Marie’s tender heart, love of children, and dedication to education (Marie received a Master’s Degree in Education from Marshall University) endeared Marie to countless students and their parents. Marie’s former students delighted in visiting Marie throughout the years and took pride in telling their own children how Mrs. Gothard had been their favorite teacher.

Marie’s love of children extended to her own household where she raised her two children, Starlette and Lance, with an abundance of patience, care, and plenty of fun. Theirs was an active family, with Marie not only working as a teacher, cooking, and meticulously keeping house, but Marie also prioritized helping with Starlette and Lance’s homework, school clubs, sports, and church activities. Marie passed along her lifelong love of the ocean with the family looking forward each year to their summer-long Myrtle Beach camping vacation.

Inspired by the young, devoted minister, Bob Bondurant and his dynamic wife, Beth, Marvin, and Marie became dedicated members of Upperglade Presbyterian Church. Marie worked with the youth of the church, volunteered on numerous committees, and served as a church elder.  Always outgoing, friendly, and a lively conversationalist, Marie’s strong faith in God and desire to follow in Christ’s loving footsteps were visible to all who crossed her path.

Marie’s faith in God, along with the support of her church family and many friends, helped to carry Marie through the death of Marvin on December 23, 1998. Marie continued for years in her service to Upperglade Presbyterian and in 2001 was engaged to a fellow church member, Lester Bowman. Marie and Les shared a deep faith in God and enjoyed each other’s company. Marie gave Les a master class in shopping with her amazing ability to shop sales and find bargains and Les entertained Marie with his golfing tales while they dined at his favorite buffets.

One of Marie’s greatest joys in life was being Kole and Alli’s Nana. Marie delighted in doing creative activities with her grandchildren and taking them on summer adventures, along with her fiancé, Les. Many fun times were spent teaching the grandchildren to play games and, by example, instilling in them her values of kindness, patience, and service.

Marie was preceded in death by her parents, Richard and Vivian Chapman, her husband, Marvin Gothard, her sister, Lynda Lyle Westfall, and her daughter, Renae Kay Gothard.

Left to cherish the beautiful memories of Marie’s tender heart and sunshine spirit are, daughter, Starlette Hopwood (husband, Keith) of Elkins, WV; son, Lance Gothard (wife, Dee) of Harrisburg, NC; grandchildren, Kole and Alli Hopwood of Elkins, WV; fiancé, Lester Bowman of Cowen, WV; aunt, Tena Cunningham of Jacksonville, FL; nieces, Susan Bias of Longmont, Colorado and Kathy Yates of Belle, WV; and numerous church family members and beloved friends.

Services to honor Marie’s life will be held at 2:00pm Saturday, August 26, 2023, at the Upperglade Presbyterian Church, Upperglade, WV. With Rev. Robert “Bob” Bondurant officiating. Burial will follow at West Virginia Memorial Gardens, Calvin, WV. A gathering of family and friends will be held from 12:00pm until the time of service Saturday at the Church.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.morrisfuneralcowenwv.com

Services entrusted to the care of Morris Funeral Home