Esther Janette (Hillberg) DELANEY

Esther Janette (Hillberg) DELANEY

Esther's heart finally gave out on February 23, 2013.

She was born in Olympia on August 10, 1927, and raised there and in Bremerton, the third of Edward and Clara Hillberg's four children; the family called her "Babe." After graduating from South Kitsap High School, she went to work in the Bremerton Navy Yard, where she met Mick (Richard E.) Delaney on VJ Day. They married in March, 1946, and set out on a 15 year trek back and forth across the country for Mick's education and employment, raising three daughters as they went. They finally settled in Seattle in 1961: though they traveled extensively, they never left permanently.

In addition to being the non-selling partner in Mick's insurance agency, Esther was a Girl Scout leader (known as "Favorite Martian" to Troop 999) and a volunteer for the Children's Home Society of Washington. Then, in 1971, they sold the agency, Mick went on the road, teaching sales, employee motivation and politics to several hundred business groups, and Esther became the Reference Librarian for Safeco Insurance Company.

Once she retired from that position, she joined her husband on the road. Mick used stories to illustrate his points and Esther was usually the heroine. At Mick's return engagements, she was often met with a variation of "I thought you were a myth. No one could be that nice." But she was. Not wishy washy nice-her sense of humor, when she chose to exercise it, was sardonic, though never unkind-and she knew a scam when she saw one.

Mick died in 2006 and their daughter, Lynn, in 2010 and her heart, damaged by childhood illness, began to fail. Yet she maintained her love and connection to her family and friends, her sense of humor, her commitment as a fundraiser for the Seattle Children's Hospital, and her love of puzzles-jigsaw and word puzzles of all kinds.

Esther is survived by daughters, Karen (Seattle) and Margaret (Snohomish); grandson, Sgt. William Phillips (Fort Stewart, Georgia); granddaughter, Arwen (Paul) Schulte and great grandson, Strider Williams of Kamloops B. C; sister, Olivia Snider (Seattle) and brother, Edward (Violet) Hillberg (Olympia) and their families; and friends and relations across the

U. S. and in British Columbia.

A celebration of Esther's life will be held at Sunset West Condominiums, 6533 Seaview Ave. NW, Seattle, at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 2nd. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to Seattle Children's Hospital, Providence Hospice Transitions program, or the .

Sunlight on your road, Momma.

Published in The Seattle Times from Feb. 26 to Feb. 27, 2013