Esther H. Johnson

Esther H. Johnson, age 98 of Lemmon, passed away early Monday morning, Nov. 4, 2013 at her sister’s home west of Bison.Posted Nov. 15, 2013

Esther H. Johnson, age 98 of Lemmon, passed away early Monday morning, Nov. 4, 2013 at her sister’s home west of Bison.

Memorial service were held Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013 at Rosebud Lutheran Church, South of White Butte, S.D. at 2 p.m. Rev. Marjorie Hershey and Rev. Dana Lockhart officiated and burial of Esther’s ashes followed at the Rosebud Cemetery. Condolences can be left at the Evanson Jensen Funeral Home in Lemmon, S.D. on Saturday, Nov. 9, from 1 to 5 p.m.

Visitation was held one hour prior to the service at the church on Sunday.

Esther Henrietta Seim was born on May 25, 1915 to Henry Seim and Esther (Becker) Seim on their homestead in Rockford Township, Perkins County, S.D.

She was the third child of a family of six, Henry, Louis, Bill, Lester and Kari. The Seim house was made out to Henry’s claim shack and Esther’s claim shack. Esther’s claim shack was the living room. Esther attended the Sunny Slope School for the first eight grades.

She grew to young womanhood on the ranch. One of her many jobs included trailing the cows down to the south pasture and while there she sat in her little stone house atop a hill and read books. She attended Lemmon high school graduating with the class of 1933. Blenda Christman and Bernie Rose were among her classmates. She then attended teachers college in Dickinson for one year earning her certificate in 1934.

Esther started her teaching career at her old home school, Sunny Slope, for 1 year (1935) with her students being her brother Lester and sister, Kari, along with Hilda, Ivan and Gilbert Paulson and Roy Ludington. The school was located one mile north of the Seim ranch and then moved to one mile south and ½ mile west. When it was sold, the school was moved back to the ranch and added on to the house. It was the kitchen and dining room. With her first paycheck of $40 for the month, Esther bought a sewing machine and a washing machine. The sewing machine was a Montgomary Ward and is still in the country.

Esther then taught one year at Hay Hill School #2 east of Hwy 73. (1936) The three Stanley children were among the students, Tim Gossman, who was the president of the bank in Bison is the son of Bernice Stanley.

She then went to Burdick and taught one year. (1937) Kari went with her and attended 8th grade. Other students included Bud, June and Albert Smebakken, John, Muriel and Martina Johnson.

She then went to Liberty for three years. (1938-1940) Jim Spenny, Loran Jorgenson, four Novak girls, Bob and Jack Crow were among her students.

She spent two years at West Roosevelt, (1941-42) west of Milner’s. Ernest and Walter Hard, Myrtle, Melvin and Martina Randen and three Matke kids were students.

Esther taught at Pleasant Ridge for a year (1943) Alice, Obert and Selmer Hagen, Floyd Johnson, Horace and Nels Seim, Dorothy Paulson and George Paulson’s girls, Louise and Delores.

She taught at Lone Tree School one year, (1944) south of Bison.

LeRoy Schecher, Merle, Dean and Cleo Kopren, Orein Hafner, Hafner girl, Schutzka’s twins and Ann Weaver. Back to Pleasant Ridge for a year (1945) where her students were Selmer and Obert Hagen; Dorothy and Larry Paulson, Nels Seim and Floyd Johnson.

In 1946 thru 1954 she taught the thrid grade at Simmons Elementary in Aberdeen. Her father, Henry Seim passed away in 1954. Back to teaching at Pleasant Ridge for two years (1955-1956) Students were Patsy Rittenhouse (Miller), Jim and Jerry Anderson and Tommy Seim.

Then to Rapid City for one year (1956) at EB Berquist Elementary, third grade.

She was married to Andrew George Johnson on July 20th, 1957. She then took a couple years off from teaching.

Esther then taught third grade in the Lemmon School system from 1960 through 1962, and remembers well the principal’s son, whom she had for a student one of those years.

One of her many experiences in her travels to school involved a fox. On her way to Lemmon she saw a fox crossing the road, and she ran over it. At that time, there was bounty on fox, so she stopped, backed up and threw it in the trunk. After a day at school, she stopped at Grandma Johnson’s. She could hear a noise, like scratching, coming from the trunk, so she called Andrew and he drove all the way to Lemmon, carefully opened the trunk and killed the fox. This time it was dead.

In 1963 Andrew and Esther were blessed with a daughter, Esther Hilma (Tiss) Johnson. Esther had wanted to name her Renae, but Andrew wanted her named after family members, for a while she was known as “Jr.”, then Andrew started calling her “Tissie” which was later shortened to “Tiss.”

In 1969 she again taught at Pleasant Ridge School at the urging of Elvira Johnson. Students were Bob, Alice, and Ruth Seim, Linda and Jean Johnson and Kay Paulson. While she taught at Pleasant Ridge, Tiss started her first year of school at Burdick, with Andrew making sure she got to school every day.

Burdick School closed and students were transferred to either Bison or Lemmon.  Tiss traveled to Lemmon on the bus every day, but would rather have dad take her to town, so Esther began teaching third grade at the Lemmon Elementary in 1971 and had Tiss as a pupil that year. She taught in Lemmon 1971 thru 1981 and retired when Tiss graduated from High School.

Andrew and Esther celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary on July 20, 1977, at the home of her sister, Albert and Kari Hoff. Andrew passed from this life on Dec. 6, 1977 while doing what he loved, being out on the ranch.

Tiss was married on July 4, 1981 to Alton Treib. Esther was blessed with her only grandchild, Nickolas Andrew Treib on Jan. 2, 1983.

Esther lived on the ranch for another five years before moving south of Lemmon to the Stanley Smebakken place, which is leased by Tony and Helen Gregory. Esther lived there for a number of years, and then moved to Lemmon. She lived in a house at the south end of Main for a year and then moved into an apartment in Lemmon.

In February of 2012 she moved in with her sister, Kari Hoff due to failing health and was under the care of her great-niece, Dorena Weichmann.

Esther is survived by her daughter, Tiss Treib, Lemmon, her grandson, Nick (Tammy) Treib Hettinger, N.D., her sister, Kari Hoff, Bison, S.D., brother-in-law, John G. (Shirley) Johnson, Shadehill, SD, sisters-in-law, Martina Ham, Shadehill, S.D. and Muriel Siedel, Bismarck N.D.; her special caregivers, nieces, Dorena and Katie Weichmann; and numerous nieces, nephews and family members.

Esther was preceded in death by her parents, Henry and Esther Seim, her husband, Andrew G. Johnson and her brothers, L.J. Seim, Lester Seim, Henry Seim and Willie Seim.

Condolences to Esther’s family can be sent through our website at