Esther Mildred Helsel|
Esther Mildred Helsel was born into a loving family on May 25, 1916, in Alberta, Canada. In her youth the family moved to Oregon, where she occasionally accompanied her father up the Rogue River by boat as he sold Fuller Brush items. The family later moved to California where they eventually settled in Turlock.
As a teenager, Esther was a talented athlete and very competitive. Her doting older brother, Kermit, taught her how to throw a ball. She loved playing tennis, especially when she was able to beat the boys.
Esther graduated from Seattle Pacific University and in 1942 married E. Walter Helsel. For many years she was an elementary school teacher in the Shoreline School District. She especially enjoyed physical education classes with her students.
Summer vacations for the family included traveling to Turlock to visit Esther's parents and extended stays in the old officer's housing at Camp Casey on Whidbey Island. Esther and Walter frequently traveled overseas and led a number of trips to the Holy Lands. In 1969 Esther took a sabbatical from her teaching position and spent nine months traveling alone around the world.
After retirement, Esther and her husband spent time teaching in mission schools in the Philippines and in Hong Kong. In 1990 they moved to Warm Beach Senior Community in Stanwood. Esther kept busy traveling, making ceramics, visiting friends and helping to organize the dining room.
Esther was preceded in death by her brothers, Kermit and Charles Hammer, and her husband, E. Walter Helsel. She is survived by her children: Edward and wife Judith of Mercer Island, Washington, Kermit of Seattle, Washington, Donald and wife Christine of Seattle, Washington, Marilynn and husband Alvin Arnold of Grandview, Washington, and grandchildren: Kim (Ben) Beaudoin, Colleen (Matt) Brent, Kendra (Caleb) Hug, Meghan Helsel and Benjamin (Maggie) Helsel and seven great grandchildren, Hannah, Peter, Miriam, Jonathan, Luke, Adam, and Samantha.
A memorial service will be held in the Beachwood Lounge at the Warm Beach Senior Community, Stanwood, Washington, on August 10, 2013, at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Esther Helsel Women's Soccer Endowment at Seattle Pacific University.
Published in The Seattle Times on July 28, 2013