KINSELLA, Estelle Eleanora
Died peacefully at home with her family on Wednesday, November 13th after courageously battling breast cancer. Born to Katherine and John Stillwaggon in 1961 and raised in South Orange NJ, she was the youngest of seven children. She attended St. Rose's Academy in Belmar, NJ, where she participated as a soloist in musical productions and began her career as an exceptional vocal performer. She received her BA in music therapy from Montclair State College, moved to California, and then worked at Camarillo State Hospital with adolescent and adult psychiatric patients. There she met and married Paul Kinsella. Estelle and Paul were blessed with two children, Dylan, in 1995, and Gwen in 2000.
Estelle received her MA in counseling from Cal State Northridge, and became a licensed Marriage Family Therapist. She underwent training in Guided Imagery and Music therapy. She practiced privately, went on to work for Yolo Hospice, and ultimately became the Bereavement Coordinator for Sutter Hospital's Hospice. She developed a passion for the Threshold Choir, and the Sacramento chapter was formed in her honor.
She and her family moved to Fair Oaks in 1999. She is fondly remembered as a gifted voice and musical theater coach and mentor, who transformed the lives of many young people. Whether on the beloved Jersey Shore or the wonderful coast of California, Estelle loved the ocean and the beach, and always gravitated there. She touched the lives of so many people and her friends became part of the large family circle that was Estelle's life's work and legacy. In spite of her trying illness, she lived life fully to the end.
She is survived by her children, Dylan and Gwen; her husband, Paul; her mother, Katherine; her siblings: John, Seton, Denise, Mark, Anne and Paul; fourteen nieces and nephews, and nine great-nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Sacramento Children's Chorus; Threshold Choir; Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC.org); or any metastatic breast cancer research center; or St. Francis Episcopal Church, where a memorial service for her was held on 11/18/2013.
Published in The Sacramento Bee on Nov. 23, 2013