Cover photo for Esther M. Cotton's Obituary
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1933 Esther Cotton 2023

Esther M. Cotton

February 17, 1933 — June 2, 2023

McPherson, KS

Esther Marie (Ikenberry) Cotton, 90, of McPherson, KS, passed away Friday, June 2, 2023, at McPherson Center for Health.  She was involved in numerous church and community activities during her children’s growing up years, and later worked for The Cedars as an Aide and as Assistant Activities Director. After moving to Topeka, Esther graduated Washburn University with an Associates degree in Gerontology/Mental Health, and obtained CNA, CMA, and LMHT credentials.  She also sold Avon products in spare time, becoming a President’s Club member.


Esther was born February 17, 1933, to missionary parents, Rev. Olivia (Dickens) Ikenberry and Rev. Ernest L. Ikenberry, in Tai Yuan Shansi (Shanxi) Province, China.  Elementary school years were spent in China, La Verne, CA, Twin Falls, ID, and McPherson.  She attended later grades at Shanghai American School, China and graduated from Manhattan, KS high school in 1951.  She graduated from McPherson College with a BA in English in 1955.  Esther was united in marriage February 9, 1955, to H. Dean Cotton at the McPherson Church of the Brethren.


Esther was a member of First United Methodist Church, McPherson, Partners Sunday School Class, United Methodist Women, Genealogy Club, Ladies Reading Circle, EHU, McPherson County Historical Society, and life member of the McPherson Opera House.


Preceding her in death were her parents; stepmother, Marguerite Berkey Ikenberry; her loving husband of 67 years, H. Dean; and siblings, Dr. Ernest A. Ikenberry, Olivia Susan Wilson, and Betty I. Robinson (Elizabeth Ann).


Survivors include a son, Ken Cotton, DDS (Michelle) of McPherson, KS; a daughter, Kathy Gauby (Sid) of Boise, ID; four grandchildren, Kyle Gauby (Melissa), Kacie Noyes (Jeremy), Meghan Rathbun (Denver), and Matt Cotton (Jocie); seven great-grandchildren, Owen, Henry, Evelyn, Henry David, Howard, Leon, and Amelia; and several nieces and nephews.


A memorial service will be held at 10:00 AM, Monday, August 7, 2023, at First United Methodist Church with Rev. Emily Spearman Cannon officiating.  A committal service will follow at McPherson Cemetery.  To view a live stream broadcast of the service, please click on the following link:


Memorial donations may be given to First United Methodist Church, McPherson College, or Meals on Wheels in care of Stockham Family Funeral Home, 205 North Chestnut, McPherson, KS 67460.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Esther M. Cotton, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Monday, August 7, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

First United Methodist Church, McPherson

1200 E Kansas Ave, McPherson, KS 67460


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