SAN ANTONIO – Joseph Liedecke is on a mission to raise $25,000 to honor his beloved mother.
“I think she was an amazing lady,” Liedecke said. “I want other people to know who she was.”
His mother, Esther Morales Liedecke, passed away in early June of 2019. In her 92 years of life, Esther earned two degrees from Our Lady of the Lake University, several certifications, celebrated 68 years of marriage with the love of her life and together raised five children. Esther was deeply loved and respected by her students.
“She loved family. She loved God. She loved education,” Joseph said.
Joseph remembers the stories his mother shared of her giving shoes from her trunk to students in need when she was a young teacher at Harmony Elementary School.
“Sometimes these students wouldn’t show up to school, and my mom would go and check on them at their houses in the Elmendorf area,” Joseph said. “(The students) didn’t have shoes, school supplies or they didn’t have a coat, and my mother would say, ‘Follow me,’ and she would open her trunk of her car and there were boxes of shoes and clothing.”
The pain of losing his mother inspired Joseph to keep her spirit of giving and helping students alive.
“I set up a scholarship,” Joseph said. “Mama was always trying to help students that couldn’t go to school, and this is the perfect thing to keep her memory going, to have a scholarship in her name.”
The Esther Morales Liedecke Scholarship is an endowed donation that will be available for current students at Our Lady of the Lake University to apply for, no matter their major.
“A lot of times in our lives, we need little breaks, right? I want to give a break to a student that might not be able to afford the tuition, and I know my mother would be very pleased with that,” Joseph said.
Joseph, along with his sister Mary Lou Ramos, have organized various initiatives to raise the $25,000. Their latest effort came from their kitchen and a lesson from mom.
“We were always taught (to not), you know? So, I thought, you know what, I’m going to make some banana bread.” During the pandemic, dozens of loaves of bread have played an integral part in helping bring the total money raised to more than $17,000 for the scholarship.
Joseph sells the bread and coordinates pick-ups through his Facebook page and asks for an $8 donation.
“Most of the time people give me a little extra because they know it’s going for a good cause,” Joseph said.
Once the amount is met, the money will be placed in an investment account for about a year before students can apply for the aid. Joseph hopes the first distribution of the scholarship will be in 2022.
To learn more and donate to the Esther Morales Liedecke Scholarship, click here.