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Esther Lindwall


1921 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Esther Lindwall Obituary
Esther Lindwall

1921 - 2015 BENNINGTON Esther Lydia Johanna Skoglund Thodal Lindwall died in her sleep at Fillmore Pond in Bennington, VT, on October 1, 2015. She was 93. She was born in Hartford, CT on October 9, 1921, the daughter of Ivan Skoglund and Elsa (Youngstrom) Skoglund. Her parents sailed to their native Sweden, where Esther attended school and formed a lifelong bond with her Swedish cousins. The family later returned to CT, where Esther graduated from Hall High School, in West Hartford, in 1939. Esther worked as a secretary, but when the Second World War came on, the nation's need for nurses grew acute. Esther enrolled in Springfield Hospital School of Nursing. She received her RN in 1946. Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Hartford, CT helped set the path her life would follow. Through the church's social group, the "Luther League," as she would later reminisce, "I met three men, dated all three, and married two of them." She married Frederick Thodal, an engineer, on October 5, 1946 at Emmanuel. John Lindwall, who had married Esther's friend Linnea Walin, was in the wedding party. Esther and Fred lived in East Longmeadow and Dunstable, MA, and later in Middlebury, VT, where she worked in public health programs in Addison County, developing child vaccinations with a group of nurses that would become the "Counseling Service of Addison County." The young family were avid skiers; the Thodal kids clomped into Sunday services in ski boots, to expedite the afternoon trip to the Middlebury Snow Bowl.There Esther coined a phrase that would become a commonplace among her descendants for working and saving for the future: "Next year, buckle boots." The family relocated to Wilbraham, MA, where Esther was an Ob-Gyn RN at Baystate Medical Center and at several doctors' offices in and around Springfield. She was a charter member of Christ the King Lutheran Church in Wilbraham, and a member of Braga-Iduna Lodge of the Vasa Order of America in East Longmeadow. Her husband died suddenly in 1967, leaving Esther a single mother to four children, the youngest only 10, and the oldest in basic training, soon to be deployed to Vietnam. Her friend Linnea, who had married John Lindwall, died soon after, leaving three children. In February, 1970, Esther married John at Emmanuel. The two lived together in Wilbraham. John died in 1990. Esther loved travel and tea dances, and cared not a fig for organized sports. She had an ear for opera and all classical music. She made bridesmaids' dresses for one daughter, a wedding dress for another, and a prom dress for a granddaughter. She loved language and wordplay: fluent in Swedish and English, conversant in German, she was very fond of jokes. She was never wealthy, but had fine taste in decorating, clothing, china, crystal and linen. Instinctively social, Esther was an effortless hostess. She set the family standard (flourishing among her children and grandchildren today) of the very large holiday gathering. The Wilbraham house was where children, spouses, and grandchildren gathered for Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve Smorgasbord. Visiting California in 1996, she stumbled and felt strangely fatigued. Soon after, she received a grim diagnosis: PLS, a variant of Lou Gehrig's Disease. The diagnosis would worsen, and become ALS. The disease came on slowly but remorselessly, robbing her of muscle function over almost 20 years, but her instinct for survival was remarkable. A strange side-effect of the disease, and its only blessing, was that once she began to laugh, it was difficult to stop. (That happened often; she never lost her love of jokes). She outlived the doctors' predictions by more than a decade. Esther is survived by brother, Ivan Raymond Skoglund of Farmington, CT, and seven children: Dick Thodal of Middlebury, VT, Joyce Bock of North Falmouth, MA, Carla Tighe of Middlebury, VT, Eric Lindwall of East Longmeadow, MA, Bruce Lindwall of Deerfield, NH, Stina Kutzer of Pownal, VT and Marta Willett of Boston, MA. Esther was predeceased by granddaughter, Sarah Dalzell, and is survived by 19 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. SERVICES: A memorial service will be held at Saint John's Episcopal Church in Williamstown, on October 17, at 2 p.m. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Hospice Volunteer Program at Bennington Home Health and Hospice, 1128 Monument Ave., Bennington, VT 05201.
Published in Bennington Banner on Oct. 6, 2015
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