September 18, 1930 ~ June 11, 2022

Born in: Vincennes, Indiana
Resided in: Vincennes, Indiana

Esther Marie Ellerman Otten passed away peacefully at her home on Saturday, June 11, 2022, with her family at her side. Born September 18, 1930, on a farm to Ernest and Margaret (Lindy) Ellerman, she was a pioneer of women’s achievement in their careers from the beginning.

She attended St. Peter’s Lutheran Elementary, Decker High School, Vincennes University and ultimately earned her Masters Degree in Education from Indiana State University. She truly believed educating young minds was her life’s calling. Esther achieved many teaching awards including a Presidential Award, Outstanding Service award from the Phi Delta Kappa, State Mathematics Final awards, and was also recognized as a Decker High School distinguished alumnus. She especially loved mentoring her student teachers.

Esther met and fell in love with her late husband Robert L. Otten through friends and they were married on August 22, 1954. After purchasing their current farm in 1956 and creating Robert Otten Farms, Esther added the long list of duties as a farmer’s wife to her resume.

After teaching over 36 years, she retired in 1992 from Franklin Elementary. Esther kept her mind and hands busy by tutoring students in her home for many years, growing beautiful flower gardens, creating pressed flower gifts and cards, and raising Australian Shepherd dogs.

Beyond her career, nothing was more important than her family. She is lovingly survived by her son, Randy and Belinda Otten, and daughter, Aline Otten, her grandchildren, Robert and Maegan, Cory and Jessie, and five great grandsons, Reese, Kade, Cole, Jarred, and Jeremy. She is also survived by a brother, Chris Ellerman.

Preceding her in death was her dear husband of nearly 63 years, Robert, her parents Maggie and Ernest Ellerman, and her sister Freida Johnson.

Services are planned through Goodwin Sievers. Visitation will be Wednesday, June 15th from 4-8 at Gardner Brockman Funeral Home at 505 Main St, Vincennes, IN. Funeral services will take place Thursday, June 16th at St John Lutheran Church at 11AM. Pastor Ron Maxwell will be officiating. Internment will immediately follow at Royal Oak Cemetery on St Rd 550, Vincennes, IN.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. John Lutheran Church and Daycare.

Online condolences may be made at

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  1. I have MANY of your Mother’s pressed flower items. Bought most at Lutheran church Christmas Craft show. Everyone I’ve sent to people for special BD’s and as gifts they love them and they are precious.
    So sorry for your loss

    • So sorry for your loss. Mrs. Otten was my 1st grade teacher in 1958 at Tecumseh Elementary. We always had a hug and a smile whenever we met. One of the kindest, most loving people I know. God Speed Mrs. Otten. Love you ❤️

  2. You are in our thoughts and prayers. We wish you the comfort and consolidation of the Good Shepherd who cared for your mother throughout her entire life. May He bless you and your family during this time of grief.

  3. Absolutely, Fantastic teacher and Precious Loving soul! So privileged to have been in her 3rd Grade class at Franklin School, in addition, was tutored by her after school; as well as a student teacher for her years later. Love you Always! You were a Superb example for us all!

  4. Mrs. Otten was my 3rd grade teacher at Franklin 1975-76. She was so impressed with my penmanship that one day she marched me and my paper to the 6th grade classrooms to show them how cursive writing was to look. So was so sweet. I enjoyed being in her classroom.

  5. She was my first grade teacher also. 65 yrs later, I still remember her . Wonderful teacher and woman.

  6. Our most sincere condolences to the Otten family! You all are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
    Jim, Candace and Briana Blackburn

  7. I was privileged to have Mrs. Otten at Franklin School. She was an incredible educator. Thank you for devoting your life to the education of young minds.

  8. Dear Aline and Family,
    I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Esther. My mother, Sharon Benson, taught 3rd grade at Franklin Elementary 2 doors down from your Mother. That was many years ago. Since our Franklin Elementary days, Aline and I have become extremely close friends. Aline is a blessing in my life and a sister I have never had. My heart is aching for Aline, her siblings and nieces and nephews. Prayers and deepest condolences are with you, during this time of loss of your Mother and grandmother.

  9. Aline, My heart goes out to you and your family. Thanks for letting us know. God be with you and yours, and may He grant you peace as He gives your mother Eternal rest in Him.
    Love in Christ,
    Karen Leigh

  10. Thinking of you at this time. Praying for your peace and comfort. Sounds like she was a beautiful person who left her mark on this world.

  11. Esther was a friend of our family across hwy 50, for many years. She was strong in her faith. When I was student teaching at Franklin she gave me some of her teaching resources. She told me to love ❤️ my students. She tutored Courtney in math. Courtney just loved her and looked forward towards her tutoring sessions. She was born to teach or may I say she had a special gift from God. She will be missed by many.

  12. Mrs. Otten was my third grade teacher at Franklin Elementary in 1974-75. I absolutely loved her. I remember she wrote me a letter over the summer after the school year wishing me well in 4th grade. I think I still have it. She was so kind and a wonderful teacher.

    Condolences to all.

  13. Aline and family. I was so sorry to hear of Esther’s passing. I loved her. I was one of the fortunate ones to get to be a Student Teacher under her. She was the best mentor any new teacher could ask for. She was so good with the children. Dr. Bill Vaughn was in her second grade class the year of my student teaching. She was always cheerful, dutiful and caring. She was everything that a student could hope for in a teacher, and was also great at everything she undertook.. She gave her best to everything she did, and mentored others to do so too. My heart is with you at this time. She was the best. I send you my love and prayers.

  14. My dear Esther! Such a sweet sweet lady. I only knew her for a few years but at every church service she sought me out. We loved that we were both Esther’s and she knew my grandma Esther and my dad Ralph. I don’t believe that I’ve known a more precious soul and I sure do wish I would have known her longer. My sympathies go out to her loving family and her many friends. I’ll keep you all in my prayers. Without a doubt her soul is standing side by side with her husband in front of our Lord and Savior!

  15. Esther and I became friends when I offered to assist her by typing her family history and helping her arrange the printing of it. We shared visits often, and enjoyed lunching. She shared flowers, garden produce and her talents using flowers for cards, candy dishes, bookmarks, etc. I enjoyed wonderful times assisting her at the St. John’s Lutheran Craft Show . It was fun getting to know her family when we attended an auction where her grandson was the auctioneer. I was able to introduce my grandson and daughter to her, and another friendship developed. We both were widowed near the same time, and we comforted and supported each other. She was an amazing woman and I loved her dearly. I am so thankful she touched my life.

  16. I am glad to have been friends with Esther, as is my family. I would often share yearly visits during trips to Vincennes, and was glad to enjoy her company. It was always fun to visit the dogs and various animals she kept. She was very kind, and we would exchange letters in the times where I wasn’t there; she would also send pressed flower cards as gifts. She is in my prayers, and my condolences go out to her family and friends.

  17. I will miss Esther and her excitement; she was quite a bright light in this world … so full of creativity and always so caring. I very much enjoyed her stories from her early days of being a school teacher the most … from providing clothing to food, it was clear that there wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for one of her students. Her love of gardening, animals, and people stand out as highlights of her loving personality.

  18. It is difficult to say goodbye to such an icon. We brushed shoulders all through the years through school experiences…one of my Aunts was Registrar at Vincennes U. when it had a very small enrollment, and Mrs Otten was enrolled there. Auntie talked about “her” students there, because everyone knew everyone else. That was my intro to Mrs Otten. Much later, I substitute taught in Vincennes and that was a connection to her. She taught one of our sons at Franklin Elementary, and he was fortunate to have her as his teacher for two years, because she herself moved up a grade at one point. I call her an icon, because she epitomized the qualities needed in order to be an excellent teacher. Probably the most needful of these qualities is love for children. Heart-felt condolences to her family.

  19. I met Esther thru my husband, Randy. She babysat the (Ernie & Dorothy) Nowaskie kids and she told me that Randy was her favorite and she had named her son after him.
    We always enjoyed running into her & having a short visit.
    She will be missed by many. We are keeping all of the family in our thoughts and prayers.

  20. Randy, you mom always made us feel at home. When we would bring a meal over, she would always send us a hand made card of thanks. We will think of her often, so sorry for your loss

  21. Ester was such a sweet lady. She was an excellent teacher and friend to the students and parents. I had many of her pressed flowers over the years. Sorry for your loss.

  22. I am sad to hear our world has lost this sweet lady. She was a wonderful teacher and better person. Only one of my 3 girls was fortunate enough to have her as a teacher, but she always asked about all of them, and was so proud that she had influenced my daughter’s love of math, which set her on the road to graduating from Rose-Hulman with a engineering degree. She invited all 3 out to tour the farm one summer, and we’ve never forgotten it. I treasure the pressed flower cards I bought from her & will always keep in her memory. As a family, you know you were blessed with the best! Prayers for you all.

  23. I am sorry to hear of her passing. She was my first-grade teacher and I have thought of her often throughout my lifetime. She was a very good teacher and a wonderful person. I met her again years later at the YMCA and when I told her who I was, I was surprised when she said she remembered me and my family. Prayers for the family and friends! My God wrap His loving arms around you and comfort you!

  24. Esther’s life touched so many. We were privileged to know her. She was a dedicated teacher who cared for every one of her students. We remember her artistic ability in creating her beautiful pressed flower cards. We saved them. She was a professional, a business woman, a farm wife, a mother ,grandmother, nurturer of children, a friend to many and in all these pursuits she excelled. She made a different in the many lives that she uplifted. Esther may light perpetual shine upon you. May your soul and the souls of all the righteous through the mercy of God rest in peace.

  25. My family and the Otten family were friends from church and farming, with the Ottens farming our land for many years. Mrs. Otten was a wonderful woman, one of the finest people I’ve even know. My brother (Paul Brandenburg) and I visited her at the family homestead last year. Although she was a bit confused at times, she still had that wonderful smile on her face. We are among the many who have been blessed by her life. Paula (Brandenburg) Cardoza-Jones

  26. I was one of her many students at Tecumseh and just wanted to say how sorry I am for your loss. She was a great teacher an we are better because she was there for us.

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