It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our mother, grandmother and great-grandmother on January 2, 2012 at the Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton.
Esther will be forever missed and always loved by her children: Sharon (Gerry) Yuen, Marion (Doug) Oldenburg, and Jay (Barbara) Hirabayashi; grandchildren: Shelley (Altaaf) Ibrahim, Alisha (Mark) Hurley, Jenny Yuen, Steven (Oanh) Oldenburg, Tiara (Simon) Kissinger, Bodhi (Mark) Nariiwa, Daniel (Chiquis) Haggart, Kai (Andre) Ethier, and Joseph Hirabayashi; and nine great grandchildren: Kinley, Soren, Kobi, Hannah, James, Bronwyn, Matthias, Amelia and Louis. Esther is also survived by her brother, Bill (Lil) Schmoe and sister, Ruthanna (Donn) Higley.
Born in Seattle, Washington to parents Floyd and Ruth Schmoe, Esther attended school in Seattle, Westown, Pa and attended University of Washington.
In 1944, Esther married Gordon Hirabayashi and lived in Spokane for a short time before returning to Seattle where their twin daughters, Sharon and Marion, were born and later, their son Jay was born.
In 1951 the family moved to Beirut, Lebanon where Gordon taught at the American University of Beirut and Esther worked as a blood bank technician while completing her BA degree at the same University. From 1955 to 1959, the family lived in Cairo, Egypt where Esther taught statistics and sociology at the American University of Cairo, and where Gordon had accepted a position as a Professor.
After moving to Edmonton in 1959, Esther completed her MA in Sociology and taught at Bonnie Doon High School and later joined Alberta College as a teacher and student counsellor.
Beginning in 1969, Esther and her companion, Frank Elkins enjoyed a loving relationship, thrilled in the flying of small aircraft, and enjoyed an active social life with a wide circle of friends and family.
Esther\'s greatest joys in life were her family, friends, travel, playing bridge, wintering in Arizona.....and lots and lots of shopping.
Cremation has taken place, and at Esther\'s request, a celebration of her life will be held at a later date to be announced.
Many thanks to the staff at Lauier House who cared for Esther over the past five years, and a special thank you for the compassionate and caring nursing staff at the Misericordia Hospital (6 West).