Esther Stikeleather Mitchell Fabbricante
1925 - 2020
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Esther Stikeleather Mitchell Fabbricante

Brandon, MS - Esther Stikeleather Mitchell Fabbricante, 95, of Brandon, died of natural

causes on May 20, 2020, at Baptist Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. A private funeral service for family only will be held at Brandon First United Methodist Church on May 26, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. with the Rev. Scott Larsen and the Rev. Jim

Ormon officiating. The funeral service will be live on YouTube, Brandon First UMC, beginning at 12:30 p.m. The direct link is Interment will be in Lindsey Cemetery, Walnut Grove, Mississippi. The Rev. Giles Lindley will officiate at the graveside service at 3:00 p.m.

The pallbearers will be grandson Cole McIntyre; grandsons-in-law Greg Hooper, Joel Howard, Mike McShea, and Chandler Ragland; step-grandson Johnny Jordan; and step-grandson-in-law Don Curtis.

Esther was born on May 8, 1925, to the Rev. Shirley Marvin Stikeleather and Phebe Gregory Stikeleather in Kingswood, Kentucky. One of five children, she grew up with three older siblings after a sister born before her died in infancy. She spent her entire childhood in this small, isolated college town of 500 people. Esther graduated from Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, in 1947, with a degree in speech and minors in music and Spanish.

After college, Esther moved to Washington, D.C., where she met and married Charles Franklin "Charlie" Mitchell in 1948 at age 23. Charlie was the love of her life and the father of their five children. In 1958, the couple moved to Brandon, where Esther resided for the rest of her life. At the young age of 41, she was widowed with her five children, ages 5 to 17, by the untimely death of Charlie, the beloved town doctor in Brandon. She continued to raise her children as a single mother for 12 years until 1978, when she married the life-of-the-party Italian doctor Salvatore P. Fabbricante, to whom she was married for 15 years until his death.

Esther was known for her quick mind and organizational skills. She worked as a secretary for many years, holding positions that included medical transcriptionist at Rankin Medical Center and at the U.S. Veterans Administration before retiring from the VA in Jackson in 1978. She was enthusiastically dedicated to many organizations over the years, including Brandon First United Methodist Church, Congeniality Sunday School Class, Congregational Care Committee, "Don't Mention Age" Senior Citizens Group, United Methodist Women, Cursillo/Ultreya group, Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW), Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Chief Red Jacket Chapter, Bodacious Babes Red Hat Society, Brandon Garden Club, and Magnolia and Le Matin bridge clubs.

Music was a strong thread throughout Esther's life. Having started playing the piano at age 4 and directing congregational singing in her Kingswood church at age 10, she went on to serve as the church organist for Brandon Methodist for many years and to serve as a member of two choirs at Brandon Methodist. She also taught piano and organ at home for a period of time. In addition, Esther took great pride in the musical, academic, and professional abilities and achievements of her five children and her grandchildren.

Esther will be remembered as someone who took interest in many different things and who had many special traits and abilities. She was the family historian, with impressive memory and attention to detail. At age 93, she wrote a book titled "Memories from My Old Kentucky Home," sharing her special memories of growing up as the daughter of a preacher whose ministry kept him on the road and a very strong mother who often ran the home singlehandedly during the 1920s to 1940s. Esther developed an ability to take on whatever life threw her way. She was well traveled, both in the U.S. and abroad, an avid collector, and the kind of person who always kept busy, a trait she certainly passed down to her children.

Esther made friends very easily. She was adopted by younger people in the community who wrote her regular updates on their own lives, played Scrabble with her on a frequent and sometimes daily basis, and called her Momma Esther. Prim and proper on the outside, Esther also loved to have fun and to do the unexpected, such as going on a motorcycle ride on her 90th birthday. She was always involved and cared about others in the community, most likely setting the record on the number of funerals she attended. And she was the ultimate correspondent. One cannot imagine what her life would have been like without her computer and her family and friends network on email. Esther's daily diary, which had as many as three segments a day, was of some renown. The email distribution was wide, and those who may not have known her well before reading it certainly got to know her through it! She saved boxes and boxes of memorabilia throughout her life and had shelves of journals going back many decades.

Known for her skill at difficult card and word games, Esther played Scrabble with family and friends, online bridge with people around the world, and Words with Friends on her iPhone for hours on end through the end of her life. She was an intimidating Scrabble player and very hard to beat, and she started a beginners' bridge class teaching bridge to 12 participants in town at age 91. Her list-making and planning skills were also quite legendary, as exemplified by her reaching out to her prospective pallbearers well before she was having any serious medical issues.

Esther was preceded in death by her parents and by two brothers, Clyde P. Stikeleather and Donald T. "Ted" Stikeleather; two sisters, Junia Etta Stikeleather and Phoebe Janet S. Wachtel; two grandchildren, Charles Mitchell Bumgarner and Merrill Lauren McIntyre; a stepdaughter, Julie Fabbricante Helfrich; a step-grandson, Kevin Alexander Helfrich; and two husbands, Dr. Charles Franklin Mitchell (1966) and Dr. Salvatore Pasquale Fabbricante (1993).

She is survived by five children—Charla M. Jordan (John Jordan) of Brandon, Mississippi; Sherri Mitchell-Snider (Tom Snider, Ph.D.) of Franklin, Tennessee; Greg M. Mitchell (Mary Dale Mitchell) of Oxford, Mississippi; Lisa M. Lindley (Rev. Giles Lindley, Ph.D.) of Starkville, Mississippi; and Fran M. Johnson (Rick Johnson) of Woodstock, Georgia. She is also survived by five grandchildren—Shannon McIntyre Hooper (Greg Hooper) of Nashville, Tennessee; Cole Mitchell McIntyre of Atlanta, Georgia; Lindsey Mitchell McShea (Mike McShea) of Southlake, Texas; Dr. Charla Lindley Howard (Dr. Joel Howard) of Salt Lake City, Utah; and Dr. Chelsea Lindley Ragland (Rev. Chandler Ragland) of Asheville, North Carolina —and by three step-grandchildren, Joni Jordan Curtis (Don Curtis) of Brandon; John W. Jordan, Jr. (Kendra Jordan) of Brandon; and Elizabeth Laskin (Greg Laskin) of Madison, Wisconsin. Additionally, she is survived by six great-grandchildren and five step great-grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to Brandon First United Methodist Church, 205 Mary Ann Drive, Brandon, MS 39042, or Brandon Garden Club, P.O. Box 1985, Brandon, MS 39043.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Clarion Ledger from May 22 to May 24, 2020.
Funeral service
01:00 PM
Brandon First United Methodist Church
Graveside service
03:00 PM
Lindsey Cemetery
Not sure what to say?
6 entries
May 27, 2020
Esther was a lovely person to be missed by many!!
Kelley Fenelon
May 26, 2020
Miss Esther was a dear, kind lady, always welcoming and caring. We've lost a jewel among us. My love and prayers to her family.
Sandra Williams Krieger
Sandra Williams Krieger
May 26, 2020
Charla, Sherry, Greg, Fran ,and Lisa: Your mother was a special lady; I enjoyed reading her FB posts and hearing about Brandon news. As you grieve her passing, may the love of friends give you comfort; may the love of God give you peace.
Charlotte Graves Hunt
May 24, 2020
I lived in the town of Kingswood Ky where I knew her folks very well. and always knew about Esther as she would come back and forth to Ky to see her folks. we enjoyed emails and keeping up with different ones that way. she was a delight.
Ruthie (Rold)( Biemiller) Cox
May 24, 2020
My condolences to you Greg and each member of your family for the passing of your Mom. She was such a warm and friendly lady and so nice to be in her company. I last saw her many years ago when she came out to watch the 4th of July fireworks we had at our old homesite on Hwy 471 North of Brandon. It was always a delight to be in her company. Surely you were truly blessed to have her as your Mom as we were blessed to have known her. Your loss is Heavens gain. I hope you are well.
Rodney Swilley
May 23, 2020
I met Ms Fab in 1991 when my company relocated me to Brandon Ms. There is not enough space nor sufficient words to describe what she meant to my family and I. Filled with grace, charm and the epitome of class, my boys fell in love with her (as did I) and trips to visit her were of keen interest to all of us. She would talk of her travels and experiences and pull out a diary or two and read about the past, bringing it to life right in front of us.
My family and I moved away in 1997 but we returned to Brandon on trips to visit our son Jeff who lived in Murphy Adkins garage apartment. What memories we have of Ms Fab. Memories of a very special person. Memories of love.
The Phil Tew Family
Phil Tew
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