Esther Elizabeth Benton Seeliger Sexton passed away on Sunday morning, January 16, 2022, at the age of 87. Esther was born to Lena Wirth Benton and William Frank Benton on March 26, 1934, at Baylor Hospital in Dallas. Her parents were both from the German immigrant community of Kyle, Texas and always spoke German at home. She graduated from North Dallas High School in 1952 and began a career at Republic Bank in Downtown Dallas which would last for 16 years. In 1963 she was introduced by her uncle to Edward Walter Seeliger whose family was also from Kyle. It was love at first sight and they were married a few months later. In 1968, their first child, Elizabeth Ann, was born, followed by John Edward in 1969. Esther left her banking career to raise her children. In 1973, the young family moved to the home in DeSoto where she would spend the rest of her life.
Esther’s world revolved around her children and she never missed a performance, game, or school event. She was a gifted seamstress and would spend many late nights sewing beautiful handmade clothing and costumes for her children and later for her grandchildren. Esther was also very involved in the Northside Elementary School PTA and always volunteered to do everything she could to help the school.
Esther was a faithful wife, mother, and friend, and she spent her years in service to the church. From birth to adulthood, she attended the German Baptist Church which later became North Highlands Baptist Church in Richardson. Though her parents did not have much money, they enrolled her in piano lessons as a child, and she became a very accomplished pianist. Esther served as the church pianist for many years and taught preschool Sunday school. In 1978, her family started attending Hampton Road Baptist Church in DeSoto where she was a faithful member until her death. At Hampton Road, she taught 1st-grade Sunday school for many years and played the piano for the senior citizens’ Sunday school class. During the week, Esther worked in the church’s children’s ministry and served as the preschool music teacher.
In 1987, tragedy hit her family with Edward’s unexpected death, leaving her a single mom to two teenagers who were both in college at the time. Though heartbroken, the family carried on with the assurance in Christ that they would one day see Edward again. During this time, Esther loved to visit her daughter, Elizabeth, at Baylor University. A couple of years later, Elizabeth got engaged to her high school sweetheart Brian Adkins. Some of Esther and Elizabeth’s fondest memories were during the year they spent planning the wedding together.
After six years of being a widow, Esther met J.R. Sexton at her church’s annual Widow and Widower’s Banquet. J.R.’s first spouse had passed away a year earlier. Both of them felt that God had brought them together, and they celebrated their union with a beautiful Christmas wedding with their daughters and granddaughters serving as bridesmaids. Esther and J.R. were blessed with 23 years together before he passed away in 2016. They enjoyed traveling to national parks, Canada, and to visit relatives across the country. Esther and J. R. had many friends at Hampton Road Baptist Church. They were very involved in the senior adult ministry and members of the Solid Rockers choir. The church honored Esther and J.R. by naming them Senior Adults of the Year in 2007. Another honor they received was bestowed upon them by Baylor University when they were named Alumni by Choice in 1999 in recognition of their love and support of the university.
The joy of Esther’s life were her grandchildren, Benjamin born in 1997, and Kathryn born in 2000. She kept them every day until they went to kindergarten. Ben and Kathryn have so many special memories due to these early years they spent with their grandparents. Some of their favorite memories were frequent trips to a nearby pond to feed the ducks.
After J.R.’s death, Esther moved in with her son, John, who was her devoted caregiver until the end. The two of them operated a small business together and enjoyed dining out at various restaurants. John’s favorite memory of these later years was a road trip the two took to visit Esther’s niece Joy. Esther thought of Joy as more like a sister than a niece since Joy lived with Esther’s family as a baby and young child after her mother died while her father was serving in World War II.
Esther will be greatly missed by all who love her. If she could speak to us today, she would remind us of the words of I Thessalonians 4:13-14:
“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”
Esther is survived by daughter Elizabeth (Brian) Adkins of Ovilla, son John of DeSoto, grandson Benjamin, granddaughter Kathryn, and numerous nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her parents, Lena Wirth Benton and William Frank Benton, her first husband, Edward Seeliger, her second husband, J.R. Sexton, her brother, William Benton, and her niece Joy Reed.
The family requests those who wish to express sympathy to consider making a donation to the Hampton Road Baptist Church Music Ministry in Esther’s name.