December 31, 1915 - September 27, 2019


Funeral Services will be at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, October 1, 2019 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Chapel for Ida Maria Sophia Esslinger Sass (103) who passed away peacefully on September 27, 2019 in Sauk Rapids, MN. Rev. Keith Weise will officiate and burial will be at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Cemetery on Loon Lake near Vergas, MN. Visitation will be held one hour prior to services on Tuesday at Good Shepherd.

Ida was born on December 31, 1915 to John and Louise (Ziebell) Esslinger in Gosper County, near Arapahoe, Nebraska. She was baptized and confirmed in Immanuel Lutheran Church, Arapahoe. At age 19, she moved to Holdrege, Nebraska for four years before moving to St. Louis, Missouri for employment and to attend Business School.

On May 27, 1944 she was united in marriage to Rev. Frank Martin Sass at St. Stephen's Lutheran Church in St. Louis, Missouri. She accompanied her husband to the Canadian parishes at Spring Valley, Southey and Regina, Saskatchewan. For the first seven years, she pioneered without electricity or running water and traveled in winter by sleigh and horses. In 1958, after 15 years in Canada, they moved to Arcadia, lowa, and then in 1962, to Pine City, Minnesota.

In 1969, they moved to Vergas, Minnesota where her husband was pastor at St. Paul's Loon Lake and St. John's Lutheran Churches for 11 years. They retired in 1980 and moved to their retirement home on Loon Lake near Vergas, Minnesota. In August 1994, she and her husband moved to Perham, Minnesota. Her husband died on December 10, 1996. Ida moved to the Good Shepherd Lutheran Home in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota in 2003.

She is survived by her three sons, Loren (Diane) Sass of Beloit WI; Leslie (Cheryl) Sass of Hudson WI; Ronald (Susan) Sass of Elk River MN; and one daughter, Joanne (Gregory) Froelke of St. Augusta MN. She is also survived by her nine grandchildren: Amy (Erik) Skjei, Rice MN; Jeffrey (Heidi) Sass, Blaine MN; Erika Sass (Abby Roza), Minneapolis MN; Jacob Froelke, LaCrosse WI; Carrie (Kyle) McLaughlin, Canmore, Alberta, Canada; Christopher (Hannah) Froelke, Sauk Rapids MN, Timothy (Gretchen) Sass, New Richmond WI; Jennifer Sass (David Yeagle), Silverthorne CO; Ethan Sass, Chicago, IL; and ten great-grandchildren: Sydney and Autumn Skjei; Adam, Emily, and Owen Sass; Finn and Will McLaughlin; Aubree and Vincent Froelke, and Keagan Sass, as well as her sister, Clara Klages of Grand Haven, Michigan.

She was preceded in death by an infant daughter, Jeanette Rosalie; by her parents; by two brothers, Erwin and Erich Esslinger; and a sister, Doris Liebenow.

Ida was always actively involved in church work wherever she lived. In St. Louis MO she served as Christian Growth Chairman and President of the 150-member Walther League. In 1954, she served on the committee to organize the Manitoba- Saskatchewan Lutheran Women’s Missionary League in Canada and served as Treasurer. She was President of several LWML organizations, including the one at Good Shepherd. Ida supported several LCMS missionaries in Ghana and East Africa. At age 50, she enrolled in the Vocational Technical School and received a degree in business. Ida enjoyed traveling and visited the Holy Land, England, Germany and Austria.

When Ida was 101, she received the Minnesota Spirit of Aging award. She spoke at a senior care convention in St. Paul MN to a crowd of over 1500 people when she accepted the award. The following two-minute video was used to introduce her to the gathering.

Memorials may be given to the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd at 325 11th Street North in Sauk Rapids MN 56379.