Esther Margaret Feeney was born on April 27, 1932, in Natick, Massachusetts to John and Margie (Sears) Feeney. Esther attended grade school at Center, Montville Maine and graduated from Walker High School at Liberty Maine. She attended and graduated from Black Hills Teachers College in Spearfish. She taught school in Searsmont Maine, Chance, South Dakota, Custer Peak and Norbeck School in Harding County, South Dakota.
Esther met Thomas Ralph Maliske while teaching in South Dakota and they were wed as husband and wife on December 27, 1954, at our Lady of Victory Church at Vessey, South Dakota. They ranched and farmed near Ludlow, South Dakota, in Harding County before moving to Spearfish in 1960. While running the “Farm” “Up North” (as we all grew up calling it) they had three children, Dennis (who ended up being delivered in Rapid City, South Dakota) in 1956, Debbie 1958 and Melodie 1959 whom were both born in Hettinger, North Dakota. After moving to Spearfish they owned and operated a gas station, store and trailer court near Spearfish Park. Two more children were born shortly thereafter, Brian in 1964 and Shannon in 1967, both born in Spearfish. The family moved to a Ranch near McNenny Fish Hatchery on the South Dakota/Wyoming border in 1968. The family of seven lived there ranching, riding horses and growing up until moving “into town” in 1974. Tom and Esther bought an old farm house on St. Joe Street that they spent the next three years remodeling and transforming into the “Green House”. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday during the summer was spent listening to the Passion Play with thousands of cars streaming by each of those nights on their way out. In 1979 they moved to their final home together, the “Yellow House” on Lincoln Street (we were a very creative family, when it came to naming).
Esther taught Chapter One at West Elementary School in Spearfish for 23 years. Tom always kept the “Farm” and spent the year Farming the tilled ground and leasing the pasture land. The family still owns the “Farm” and the boys go “Up North” to continue this tradition.
Thomas preceded Esther in death on November 28, 1998. Survivors include one brother, John (Ann) Feeney and two sisters, Harriet Oxton and Rita Clark, all still residing in Maine; two sons, Dennis (Peggy) of Whitewood, South Dakota, and Brian (Julie) of Rapid City; three daughters, Debbie (Sully) Simons of Beulah, Wyoming, Melodie (Mike) Adams of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Shannon (Mark) Morgan of Spearfish. Esther and Tom were also blessed with 19 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.
Mass of Christian burial was Saturday, March 15, 2014, with Father Tyler Dennis officiating. Burial followed at Rose Hill Cemetery. A Memorial has been established to Black Hills State University Scholarship Fund.
Arrangements are under the care of Fidler-Isburg Funeral Chapels and Crematory Service of Spearfish. Online condolences may be written at www.fidler-isburgfuneralchapels.com