Ester Ott SMITH June 6, 1905 ~ December 8, 2007 Age 102, Ester leaves a legacy of music and love. Born in Helena, Missouri, Ester always loved to sing. After majoring in music at the University of Kansas, Ester moved to New York City, dreaming of singing on Broadway. Against the odds, Ester built a thriving career, singing lead in the Rhythm Girls trio with the Paul Whiteman orchestra and performing with the top actors and singers of the day including Cary Grant and Bing Crosby. In 1934, Ester married actor, Sydney Smith. Living in Connecticut, Ester enjoyed life as a mother of two and began a lifelong passion for collecting antiques. In 1957, they moved to Hollywood, CA and at age 53, Ester went back to college to get her certificate to teach kindergarten. After retiring from teaching, they moved to DeKalb, IL where Syd took a teaching position at Northern Illinois University. After losing her husband in 1978, Ester moved closer to her daughter and grandchildren in Seattle, WA. She once again showed her resiliency by making new friends and joining the Country Collectors group where she shared her love of antiques. Over the years Ester's clear voice left her and her beauty faded, yet her true song and inner beauty still shone. Her true gift was the way she loved. She was a person truly interested in the lives of others; she made people feel important and valued. People of all ages loved to be Ester's friend. To her family, Grandma Ester was our rock. Her love and strength is our inspiration and continues to whisper to us to follow our dreams. Goodbye Mom, Grandma, Friend, Broadway Starlet, Teacher, Collector, Centurion - you will be greatly missed. Ester is survived by her children, Valentine Castro and Christian Smith, grandchildren, Ryan Ernst and Amanda Wood, and great-grandchildren, Alexander and Aria Wood. Memorial Services will be held at University Place Presbyterian Church on January 12, 2008 at 3:00 p.m. Remembrances can be made to the Sydney Smith Memorial Endowment Fund, c/o Northern Illinois University Foundation, 1425 W. Lincoln Highway, De Kalb, Illinois 60115.
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