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Esther Charlene Church

Esther Charlene Church, age 83, Unicoi, with faith and trust in Jesus, departed on a journey and left the cares of this life behind her on Friday, December 10, 2021, while she was surrounded by her family at her home. We are sad to see her go because she gave her family constant love and understanding, always keeping us anchored. She was born August 30,1938, starting life in a barn converted into a house. Esther is a daughter of the late Samuel Eugene McLaughlin and Rachael Linville McLaughlin. She lived most of her life less than a mile away from her birthplace.

Esther was successful in helping to provide for her family through hard work and long hours. First, as the wife of a farmer who worked at other jobs, making it necessary for her to be in the fields from daylight until dark while cooking for the family and keeping up with two sons. Then, as one of the original four owners of Jones & Church Farms, where she was integral in getting the operation up and running; working in the greenhouse, planting in the field, working on the grading line at the packing house, doing payroll, and countless other things that would come up almost daily in the early years. 

She never stopped trying to improve herself earning an Associate’s Degree in Accounting when she was in her mid-40’s, working at Texas Instruments (later Siemens), while still working part-time with the farm operation. Never one to equate money with success, she said she was happiest when she was living day to day with very little cash in her pocket and pinching pennies in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

She urged her sons to live life to its fullest stressing education, the one thing no one can take away from you, and following their dreams. She paid for her grandchildren’s education so their dreams could have a solid foundation and sent them on adventures all over the world. Even so, those same grandchildren’s best memories were in her front yard or every Friday night at her house which became known as mamaw’s night.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by three sisters: Rosalie who died as an infant, Violet Garrison, and Opal Bennett; one brother Roy Moody McLaughlin.

She is survived by two sons: Michael Church (Rosaelia), and Gregory Church (Amy); five grandchildren: Samuel Church (Ellen), Joshua Church, Lacy Church, Carina Church, and Caleb Church; one sister, Jewel Stewart; several nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends on Wednesday, December 15, 2021, from 5:00-7:00 P.M. in the Unicoi Funeral Home Chapel. Reverend Jeremy Dykes will officiate the 7:00 P.M. funeral service. Committal will be held at 1:00 P.M. on Thursday, December 16, 2021, in the Roselawn Memory Gardens. Everyone is asked to meet at the cemetery by 12:55 P.M. on Thursday. Family and friends will serve as pallbearers.

Flowers will be accepted and those wishing may make donations in memory of Esther to: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memorial Department, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or 

Online condolences, photos and memories may be shared with the Church family at

Unicoi Funeral Home, 4428 Unicoi Drive, Unicoi is privileged to serve the Church family.  (423) 743-1380.