Esther Branstetter, 90, died peacefully in her sleep on December 31, 2012, at her residence at Wesleyan Village, Elyria, Ohio. Esther lived most of her life in nearby Avon.
Esther Gay was born on December 26, 1922, in Ada, Ohio, to Edwin Vergon Smith and Gladys Pollock Smith. She graduated from Ada High School in 1941, and attended Ohio Northern University, also in Ada, from 1941 to 1945. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Business Studies, and was very involved with her sorority. Esther taught at McGuffey High School prior to moving to Lakewood, Ohio, where she worked for the Department of the Navy and Higbee's Department store in Cleveland.
During her college years, Esther met and fell in love with James Robert "Bob" Branstetter of McGuffey, Ohio. They were married on January 4, 1947, in Lakewood, subsequently moving to Avon in 1950. Bob spent his career as an aeronautical engineer for NASA, while Esther kept busy as a housewife and raising three children. She enjoyed cooking, TV, reading, camping, and fishing, and particularly loved to travel around the country with Bob in their Airstream trailer following his retirement. Music was always a special part of her life, playing the cello in college and piano ever since she was a child.
Esther was a member of Avon United Methodist Church, where she participated in the Women's Circle and served in various capacities. She was also involved in numerous school and community activities, particularly Cub and Boy Scouts with her husband. She good-naturedly supported her children's many and diverse interests, and was always there to lend a helping hand and encouragement. Throughout her life, Esther made innumerable friends with her ever-present smile, her constant concern for the welfare of others and willingness to help anybody, and her unfailingly kind and loving ways. Nearly every summer of her life, Esther spent several weeks at her beloved cottage in Lakeside, Ohio, "the Chautauqua of Lake Erie", which had been the family retreat for generations.
Esther was preceded in death by her husband, Bob Branstetter, on November 30, 2007. Survivors include two sons, Jim Branstetter of Hampton, VA, and Michael Branstetter (wife Priscilla) of Plantation, FL, and a daughter, Ann Hansen (late husband Y.D. Hansen) of Bellville, OH; also brother Richard Smith (wife Ginger), grandchildren Kathey and John, two great-grandchildren and several cousins.
A celebration of life service for both Esther and Bob will be held in the spring, with interment at Preston Cemetery, Alger, OH. Cremation was by the Busch Crematory, Parma, and funeral arrangements by the Busch Funeral Home, Avon.
Memorial contributions may be made to either: The Avon United Methodist Church (Music Program), 37711 Detroit Road, Avon, OH 44011; or the Chaplain's Music Fund at the Wesleyan Village, 807 West Avenue, Elyria, OH 44035.
Condolences and/or comments may be expressed using the Busch Funeral Home's Online Guestbook at buschfuneral.com, which can be found under the Obituary heading.