Esther McMurray

Esther McMurray

AGE: 78 • Oakhurst

Esther McMurray, 78, of Oakhurst, died Tuesday, March 12, 2013. Esther had a zest for life and was passionate about painting and sharing that interest with her students. She was a lifelong learner and returned to college as an adult to earn her BA in Art at Douglas College at age 57 which she considered a great accomplishment. She taught art at Hersh High School and privately in her home art studio. Esther upheld a great sense of ethics. She instilled in her children a belief in mankind and a tolerance for peoples' differences which, in addition to her art, will be her greatest legacy. She loved getting her hands in the dirt, walking along the ocean, and creating art with her four grandchildren. Her home was open to all and she was always available to listen and boost your spirits. She was affectionately called "The Den Mother" by the young persons who enjoyed visiting her home. She had a great sense of humor and could be counted on for her witty comment to lighten the moment. Esther's brilliant mind and artistic spirit will be deeply missed.

Esther is survived by her loving husband, Jim; children, Sheri Szeles Brasher and Bruce Szeles; stepson, Kevin McMurray; son-in-law, Doug Brasher; daughters-in-law, Christine Szeles and Roxy McMurray; grandchildren, Trey, Chase, Cienna, and Cielo; sister, Ann Tobias; nieces, Robin Kasowitz, Karen Flannery, and Lisa Dehart; nephew, Steven Tobias; cousins, Mark Kasowitz, Michael Flannery, Bob DeHart and Lin Tobias; goddaughter, Shari Carlquist; former husband, Gene Szeles, and preceded in death by stepdaughter, Beth McMurray.

Celebration of Life will be 1 p.m. Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 18 Roslyn Drive, Oakhurst. All former art students and friends are welcome. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Monmouth Beach Cultural Center, 128 Ocean Ave., Monmouth Beach, NJ 07750.

Published in Asbury Park Press on Apr. 4, 2013