A private graveside service will be held for Ernestine Marston at the Hartman Cemetery in Hartman, Colorado.
Chloe Ernestine (McJunkins) Marston passed away peacefully at Lamar Estates on Sunday, April 5, 2020, at the age of 92. She was born in Sulphur Rock, AR on February 1, 1928 to Emmett Garland McJunkins and Ruth Jane (Brooks) McJunkins. Ernestine was born the 8th of 10 children and her older sister, Willie Mae (who was the baby of the family for six years) always told her that she and her youngest sister, Helen, were found in the cabbage patch. Many stories were shared about when she was little and having to pick cotton (she was not an outdoor person) and the famous saying as they would leave the house, “Don’t forget the dinner bucket!!” She attended school in some one room schoolhouses and at an early age knew that being a teacher was what her goal was going to be.
Ernestine graduated from Sulphur Rock High School in 1946. She attended one year at Arkansas College in nearby Batesville where she always told the story of she and two other girls riding with the county assessor to and from Sulphur Rock to Batesville in a car with a rumble seat going about 15 mph as he was a very cautious driver. The man was happy to transport the girls since there were not many at that time who could afford to go to college. That spring tragedy struck as her mother had a massive heart attack while out in her favorite place to be, her garden. At the age of 19, Ernestine decided to move to Colorado where her brother, Aubrey had relocated the year before. It just so happened that there was a teaching position open there and just by correspondence was hired by the superintendent- “sight unseen” as she liked to tell the story.
The summer of 1947 she packed her bags and with one year of college under her belt she boarded the train and headed to Colorado. When she arrived in Holly and stepped off the train, she had decided she was only going to stay one year since it didn’t look anything like Arkansas, no hills nor trees. She ended up staying 73 years and received her bachelor’s degree in August 1956 from Colorado State College of Education which is now known as the University of Northern Colorado. Her teaching career spanned 33 years in elementary schools in Hartman, Holly, and finally Lamar when she retired from Washington School in 1988. She had a passion for teaching and over the span of 33 years, touched many lives. Many former students commented to her that she was their favorite teacher or told her she made a difference in their lives. Ernestine was very appreciative of those comments.
In the last year as her memories of family were fading, the one she always remembered was how she met her future husband. She had gone to the hay field to watch her brother cut hay when a car pulled up to “see the new teacher in town”. The young man, Bob Marston, walked up and introduced himself. He asked if she’d like to ride the swather with him since her brother was cutting hay in their field. She said “no” because she didn’t want to get hay in her hair. No sooner had the words come out of her mouth, he reached down, picked up a handful of hay, and proceeded to put it in her hair. She always said she should have slapped him right there and then but instead went on a first date that next week.
On May 8, 1948, Ernestine was united in marriage to Robert Owen Marston in Hartman at the Christian Church. To this union one daughter was born, Rebecca Jane (Marston) VanCampen on December 9, 1962. There was quite the span of time between their marriage and the birth of their daughter…everyone always thought they would never start a family. Ernestine was very proud of her family and even though she tried to persuade Becky to not be a teacher, she knew from an early age that that is what she was going to do also. She always told people that she would teach all day and then come home and play school. Ernestine was an avid book reader and summers were spent canning and freezing the produce that Bob grew in his garden. She always grumbled when it came harvest time which also meant she’d be heading back to school so keeping up on both was a little time consuming.
Becky married Keith VanCampen on July 18, 1987 and moved to Pritchett where she has been teaching since, following “Ernie Mom’s” (as Keith loved to call her) footprints. On August 13, 1990, Chance Leslie VanCampen was born and was the apple of his grandmother’s eye. They had a remarkable relationship and many times they would get into mischief together. Chance married Katie Ann Fleener on September 15, 2018 and to that union two great granddaughters were born: Aubrey Ann on December 8, 2017 and Jordyn Leslie on June 5, 2019. Ernestine loved when the girls would come to visit her at Lamar Estates where she had been living since December of 2017. Sadly, with the progression of her dementia in the past few months the visits were enjoyed at the time, but she had a hard time remembering how they were related. Had times been different she would have been creating mischief with the great grands too!
Chloe Ernestine was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Marston in 2015; parents, Emmett and Ruth (Brooks) McJunkins; siblings, Virginia (Luther) LaFevers, Aubrey (Bessie) McJunkins, Glenn (Helen) McJunkins, Ralph (Elenore) McJunkins, Nellie (Ian) Easterwood, Willie Mae (Dick) Smith, Helen (Bill) Baker, and two stillborn infants.
She is survived by her daughter, Becky (Keith) VanCampen; grandson, Chance (Katie) VanCampen; great granddaughters, Aubrey Ann and Jordyn Leslie, all of Pritchett, CO; sister-in-law, Irene (Marston) Strother of Bentonville, AR; brother-in-law, Raymond (Nancy) Marston of Topeka, KS; as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Ernestine and Bob were so thankful for Doug (Mary Ellen) Marston and their family who was always available to help in their later years.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Lamar Estates or Lamar United Methodist Church in care of Valley Memorial Funeral Chapel, P.O. Box 950, Lamar, CO, 81052.
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