Polly Esch

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DAYTON — Polly Esch passed quietly in her sleep, just three days shy of her 98th birthday.

Polly was a daughter of the Far West, raised among farmers and itinerant shepherds in Idaho, Montana, Utah, Nevada and Oregon. She earned her RN at Holy Cross Hospital, Salt Lake City, and served during WW2 as an Army Nurse on hospital trains stateside, caring for wounded servicemen being returned via Oakland, California to destinations all over our country. While awaiting demobilization at war's end, she met her husband, US Navy pilot Robert R. Esch, when she heard Navy pilots at NAS Alameda, California, might allow Army nurses to fly with them during the immediate post-war euphoria. They were married in the chapel at The Presidio, San Francisco, in October 1945. When Robert stayed in the Navy after the war she became a Navy Wife, accompanying him to postings in, Missouri, Florida, California, Alaska, Washington D.C., Rhode Island, Alaska again and finally, Dayton, Ohio (Wright-Patterson AFB) where he retired from naval service as a Commander in 1963. They were married for fifty-seven years.

Along the way they also raised four sons and a daughter. All of their children graduated from Wayne HS, Huber Heights. Polly put her nursing and parenting skills to good use by volunteering as nurse when the Wayne HS Marching band started their Summer Band Camp in the late 1960's. This expanded her "family" from her five children and their friends, to caring for, literally, hundreds more kids. There were often "extra" kids around at mealtimes, and you never knew who might be sleeping on the couch when you awoke in the morning. She also fed and rescued stray cats, hound dogs and lost parakeets. All were equally welcome, except billy goats and sheep, about which she had little good to say.

Polly was blessed with a long life of good health, practical intelligence, independence and an abiding curiosity about the natural world around her. She recently swam with her children in the Pacific Ocean at her granddaughter Regan's Maui wedding. She was proud to be a military veteran. She was a pan-theologist, exploring many belief systems, and once threw a Mormon Bishop from her house when he unreasonably refused to acknowledge her right to her own beliefs. She encouraged these characteristics in her own children and other's. She was the oldest member of the Huber Heights Republican Women's Club and her bark was worse than her bite, even though she still had all her own teeth. She definitely marched to her own drumbeat.

Polly Esch is survived by her sons Dr. C. W. Esch of Kettering, Ohio and his two daughters, Jessica and Regan, Marvin Esch of Dayton, Ohio, Karl Esch of Portland, Oregon, Charles Esch of Brookville, Ohio and daughter Diana Esch-Mosher of Pepper Pike, Ohio and her three sons, Keith, Eric and Scott.

Polly's ashes will be placed on Old Woman Mountain, Kodiak, Alaska. Robert's ashes were placed there upon his passing in 2003. Kodiak was their favorite among all the places they served.

Please memorialize Polly's love and care for animals by donating to SICSA Pet Adoption Center, 2600 Wilmington Pike, Kettering, Ohio, 45419 (

Services: Saturday, September 9, 2017, 1pm - 3pm, at 10 Wilmington Place, 10 Wilmington Ave, Dayton, OH

Published in Huber Heights Courier from Sept. 5 to Sept. 6, 2017
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