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Esther Betty (Gerr) Crystal (1918 - 2013)

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EASTHAMPTON - Esther Betty Gerr was born Aug. 10, 1918, in Manhattan, the daughter of Abraham and Rachel Gerr, who had come to the United States from the Ukraine as teenagers. She had an older brother Lester who predeceased her.

Esther grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, spending many summers in the country, north of the city. She attended public schools in Harlem and then attended Hunter College, where she earned a bachelor's degree in business education at the age of 20, which she subsequently taught.

She met her husband Stanley when friends fixed her up on a blind date. She and Stan married just before the war and continued to live in New York City until Stan entered the army. Their first child Ruth was born in 1944, while Stan was in basic training. Their second child Jon was born in 1947, and Andrew, their third child, was born in 1950.

The family first lived in Riverdale, where they became lifelong friends with the Jaffes and the Danskers. The Crystal family then moved to Tarrytown in Westchester, N.Y., where they lived for several years. They then moved to Long Island, which is largely where they raised their children.

While her children were young, Esther was involved in community activities, including being a member of the PTA. She returned to teaching when Andrew started junior high school. To accommodate Stan's desires for winter vacations, Esther later moved from teaching to managing several small business operations.

As their children grew older, Stan and Esther began to enjoy traveling, making a number of trips to Europe, Asia and Africa, including trips to both Israel and Russia.

When it was time for Stan to retire, they moved to Northampton to be near their young grandchildren, Ian Asher and Meghann Laurel. Their three older grandchildren, Lissa Ivy, Jed Jotham and Willow Crystal were frequent visitors.

Stan died three years after he and Esther moved to Northampton. In the 23 years that Esther lived on her own, she developed a second life and a wide community of friends. She was very active in Hadassah and Learning in Retirement. She also made many good friends when she moved to the Lathrop Home.

While Esther had many interests, including reading, crossword puzzles, classical music, chocolate and bridge, family was foremost for her and she received constant support from her youngest child, Andrew. In the spring of 2012, she was also delighted to finally welcome her first great-grandchild, Sadie Mae.

After a short illness, Esther died peacefully surrounded by family at the Hospice at Fisher Home on Jan. 17, 2013. Esther's wish is, if you want to make a donation in her name, you make it to the .

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Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Jan. 19, 2013