Esther Williams

1915 - 2013

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Esther Williams

July 7, 1915 — July 25, 2013

Esther Shortridge Williams, 98, passed away July 25, 2013, at Royal Vista Nursing and Rehabilitation in Ellensburg, Wash. She was born on July 7, 1915, in Braddock, N.D., to Chris and Julia Wallawine, immigrants from Romania.

She was one of eight children, and when she was very young the family moved to Milton-Freewater, where she attended grade school. She lived there for 84 years. She began her working career in Walla Walla at the age of 17. Several years later she found herself working at the Umatilla Cannery, and worked her way up to the position of produce packing department floor supervisor, retiring after 25 years there.

Esther married Earl Shortridge Jan. 4, 1937. Earl owned his own well drilling company and they each worked in the orchard behind their farm home. After only 33 years of marriage, Earl passed away June 20, 1970. Esther then moved from the farm to a home on Ellis Court, where she enjoyed her flowers and yard, and time with her friends, as well as occasional outings with them to Pendleton.

In April 1982, she and Dick Williams were married and lived in the home she had established. They enjoyed each other’s company and traveled, but 10 years later was she was widowed again.

When she began experiencing severe challenges in her health, and the ability to maintain her home alone, Esther moved to Hearth Stone Cottage in Ellensburg in March 2008 to be near her nephew and niece, Dean and Waleeta Schwartz. She enjoyed her little apartment with flowers on the porch and being able to still do cooking in her little kitchen, and the friendship of the other residents and activities offered there. After breaking a hip, she then moved to Royal Vista, where kind and loving staff cared for her there until her death.

She will be remembered as being a hard working woman and for her quick wit and her wonderful humor. Even though she was not the youngest, she was the last surviving member of her siblings.

She was preceded in death by her parents; four brothers, Chris, Harold, Herman, Fred; and three sisters, Susie Schwartz, Anna Brunner and Gladys Johnson; as well as her husbands Earl and Dick. She is survived by her nephew, Dean Schwartz (Waleeta), Ellensburg, and nephew, Elmer Schwartz, Seattle; as well as several grand-nieces and nephews.

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