Outdoorsman loved living life hands-on

Friday, January 20, 2012 | 5:35 p.m. CST; updated 9:21 p.m. CST, Saturday, January 21, 2012

COLUMBIA — Mark Duwayne "Marty" Esser was an outdoorsman at heart. He loved being outside, fishing and barbecuing. He was a man who enjoyed taking a hands-on approach to life.

Marty Esser of New Franklin died Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012, at his home. He was 56.

He was born Sept. 2, 1955, in Boonville to Harold and Mildred (Diel) Esser.

He graduated from Boonville High School in 1973 and married Debbie Rohlfing on May 14, 1976.

Mr. Esser was the assistant director of Facility Operations at MU at the time of his death. Prior to his 25 years of working at the university, he co-owned a plumbing business in Boonville.

“He was funny, a sweetheart, a great person, and we will miss him greatly,” Campus Facilities Manager of Communications Karlan Seville said. “He brought life to the party. He always had a joke, and no one was a stranger to him.”

Mr. Esser is survived by his wife, Debbie; a son, Michael, and his wife, Ani, of Austin, Texas; a daughter, Kaya Fenton of Bella Vista, Ark.; two grandchildren, Ava and Grayson Esser, both of Austin, Texas; his father, Harold Esser of Boonville; two brothers, Ron Esser of Berkeley Heights, N.J., and Brian Esser of Boonville; two sisters, Karen Esser of Boonville and Robin Gross of Macomb, Mich.; his mother-in-law, Barbara Rohlfing; two sisters-in-law, Mona Sander and Lisa Hirlinger, of Boonville; a brother-in-law, Alan Rohlfing, of St. Charles; and many nieces and nephews.

His mother, Mildred Esser; two infant sisters, Barbara and Susan Esser; and his father-in-law, Raymond Rohlfing, died earlier.

Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Markland-Yager Funeral Home, 113 E. Broadway, in New Franklin. Services will be at 3 p.m. Sunday at Immanuel United Church of Christ, 112 W. Church St., in New Franklin, with the Rev. Cliff Caton officiating. Interment will follow the service at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in New Franklin.

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