Esther Stewart, 1918 ~ 2012

Esther Reeves Denison Stewart passed away at the Canyonlands Care Center on Jan. 4, 2012. Esther was born on Dec 13, 1918 in Fruita, Colo., to George Reeves and Edna Secrest. She was the oldest of four children.

For a time, the family lived in Washington state then moved to La Sal, Utah where Esther met her first husband Leonard Dennison. They were married Sept. 3, 1935 and four children were born to this union, Geri Lou (Bill) Riggle, Sally (Danny) Van Wagoner, Peggy (William) Fischer and James (Waleen) Denison.

They lived in La Sal, where the family lived and worked for the Wilcoxes. They both also worked in the general store there.

Esther and Leonard divorced. She loved La Sal and even though it was no longer her home she would return often with her grandchildren.

In 1946, she moved to Moab, where she met her second husband, Boyd Stewart. They were married on Nov. 26, 1948. Three more children were born in Moab: Raymond Boyd (Mary) Stewart, Kathleen (John) Lovato, and Roberta Lee (Marvin) Day.

Esther had seven children, 23 grandchildren, 44 great-grandchildren, 20 great-great-grandchildren, and three great-great-great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by both her husbands; her parents, George and Edna Reeves; her three siblings; Fern Milano, Helen Roberts and Jim Reeves; both her sons, Jim Denison and Boydie Stewart; her beloved grandsons, Mathew Boyd (infant) Stewart, Jimmy and Eddie Fisher, and Marvin Boyd Day.

When in La Sal she worked in the store there until she moved to Moab, then she was a cook at the old Arches Café. She worked there for several years before going to work for the for the Midland Telephone Company, where she retired with almost 30 years of service. She saw a lot of changes there. In those days, the operators’ attire consisted of dresses and heels; they weren’t allowed to go casual in those days, even though no one saw them. And mom made practically everything she wore. We will remember her beautiful dark hair and red lipstick and nails.

Esther loved the outdoors, she loved to rock hunt as her parents did, and she loved to ride a good horse. She would often tell of her childhood about how she rode every day to school and her father would take care of the roads with a team of horses.

She loved her roses and her yard and made sure the birds were always taken care of. She loved to read a good book, do crosswords and watch her game shows.

You could often find her napping on the couch in the afternoon sunshine. It came to be her daily ritual. Or, in the winter, you could often find her in front of the window working on a jigsaw puzzle.

She was also an accomplished seamstress, making all her girls’ clothes; no one could ever tell they were handmade. She made many beautiful quilts for her children and grandchildren as well, carefully selecting the material that would be used. Just about everything she gave she made herself with love.

Every year at Christmas-time everyone looked forward to her making their favorite candy. She made pounds and pounds of fudge, pecan roll, peanut brittle, and anything else anyone requested.

There was never a lot of money, but there was a lot of love in everything she did. She treasured having her family together for Thanksgiving dinners, Easter picnics and, sadly, the times we also mourned the loss of a loved one.

Later in life her health starting failing her and it was necessary for her to make a new home at the care center. This was not an easy transition for her or her family, and she looked forward to hearing her sons-in-law’s keys jingle every morning as he came in every day first thing to make her (kava) coffee.

Esther was not a woman of many words; she didn’t need them. She never had time for socializing so it was difficult for her to join in or make new friends. But she never complained.

She worked hard her whole life and made a good home for her family. She always made sure there was enough to eat, that everyone had clean clothes and a roof over their heads. We will miss you mom. You will always be forever in our hearts. We pray that you are at peace, and with your boys.