Esther, born in Nampa, Idaho and raised with two sisters in Bellflower, California, attended Whittier College where she met Robert; they married following graduation and Robert's Army discharge after WWII. Robert, whose career began with the YMCA and concluded in the organization's Hall of Fame, ascended quickly up the ranks in executive roles that allowed them residences that spanned the globe: Los Angeles, Honolulu, NYC suburbs, Chicago, Geneva. For the adventurous, curious, and confident couple, it was a storybook life if not fraught with challenges, amongst them moving from Honolulu to New Jersey in the tumultuous 60s with five kids in tow.
The changing times impacted Esther's parenting of these five, which focused on developing individual talents and teaching by stellar example. When not raising the kids, she enjoyed teaching middle schoolers, later preschoolers, and working for the YWCA, but her defining accomplishments were broader, more abstract-- less lines of a resume, more lines of a poem, prose, or song. A consummate student of life, Esther upheld a voracious appetite for art, both discovered and created. For many, 98 years might invite complacence; for Esther no day, year, or lifetime contained enough gathered moments to satisfy her boundless, eclectic curiosities, particularly involving poetry and prose, music, cinema, performing arts, humor, and the natural world. Music, nearly a raison d'etre for the Dye family, flooded the household during the day, with members forever subject to its alchemic affect.
But what Esther loved most in life was people, particularly creative-types passionate about living full lives. Good, spirited conversation was necessary sustenance for her hungry soul, and she forged and cultivated close, diverse relationships that spanned nearly a century. Her large, ever-evolving family was perhaps most precious to her, collectively characterized by a love of strong opinions, raucous board and card games, sports, laughter, and humor with that certain "Dye" predilection. While Esther's family was not always geographically close, her memorable phone calls were hand-in-hand strolls through life's hills and valleys with a best friend. At the family's metaphorical center was her adored husband Robert, her perfect complement and as liked and respected a person as anyone could know.
For community and spiritual involvement Esther and Bob attended progressive churches wherever they settled, none more cherished than Honolulu's Church of the Crossroads. The ever-welcoming arms of its members greeted their full-circle return to the islands when Bob retired in 1986. Crossroads embodies the island spirit of 'ohana and kokua, and they both became involved with its goals for peace and social justice.
Robert died in 2002. While her soul mate was sorely missed, Esther's appreciation of life's vast offerings never diminished. In those later days, she invariably began the day over breakfast in their apartment, with windows framing the ocean, mountains, and her beloved clouds. In conversation with family and friends, she conveyed thoughts that by nature rejected the petty, the cynical, the jaded. She sought beauty and joy in the world, found it wherever she went, and presented it to whomever she was with. Could we all reflect such a beautiful legacy.
A "virtual only" Celebration of Life will be held in October. Please contact the Church of the Crossroads if you wish to receive the zoom link to attend. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the YMCA of Honolulu, the Church of the Crossroads, or a favorite charity. Esther's obituary will be online at www.nmpmortuary.com where you may add memories and reflections on Esther.
Arrangements Provided By:
Nuuanu Memorial Park & Mortuary LLC