Esther Stevens Todd
Esther (Stevens) Todd, 98, a native of Wenatchee, WA, passed away Sunday, August 25, 2013, at Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee. Esther was born December 5, 1914, during World War I, to Edward Francis and Loraine Johnson Stevens in their home at Second and Pine Streets, now known as McKittrick Street in Wenatchee. Esther was the youngest child of the youngest son of Artemus Augustus Stevens, Civil War Veteran and regional leader of the Grand Army of the Republic, who moved his family to Wenatchee in 1894. Esther’s home was situated on orchard land with an occasional house every five or ten acres. Two horses named Buck and Bird furnished the power for travel for the Stevens Family until 1917. At age six, during the first week of her school career, Esther contracted infantile paralysis, now known as polio. The time was about 18 days after President Franklin D. Roosevelt was stricken. The Beacon Reader was brought to her home, where she learned to read and completed that first grade while recuperating. She returned to Lewis & Clark Elementary with a noticeable limp, but did not allow the effects of polio to hinder her purpose and achievement. Esther graduated from Wenatchee High School in 1932, during the depths of the Depression. Although her future appeared dim, Esther applied for work at General Telephone Co. and, in 1933, was offered the handsome sum of 27 1/2 cents an hour. One Apple Blossom Festival day, she answered 532 calls in one hour, so when the parade began, Esther was told she could go to the parade and not come back the rest of the day. Seldom, if ever, did she miss attending the Apple Blossom Parade. She was a telephone operator for 12 years. In 1945, Esther Stevens received a scholarship from the Lanham Foundation, established to help Chelan County young people who wanted an education. In 1947, Esther received an Associate in Arts degree from Wenatchee Junior College. Continuing at the University of Washington, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1949, and a Teaching Certificate in 1950. A short wheel based bicycle, which fit behind the front seat of her car, carried her across campus. Teaching at Peshastin High School for six years followed. In 1956, Esther became Librarian at Eastmont High School, continuing for 20 years. She completed a Master of Library Science degree at UW in 1964.
Raised in a Christian home, Esther remembered attending evangelistic meetings, Sunday school and evening services religiously. When about ten years old, she answered the altar call and went forward to accept Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour. Her greatest desire was to do Christ’s will for her life. Esther was active in Christian Endeavor at the Presbyterian Church and later moved to First Baptist Church in 1940 and was baptized in 1945. She assisted with Pioneer Girls at First Baptist, having a car for transporting girls plus time and interest in young people. Throughout her lifetime she was a willing witness for Christ. Esther commented, “The Lord was good in giving me opportunities.” Through the providence of God, Owen W. Todd and Esther Stevens met in the Victory Class of First Baptist Church, First and Chelan Streets. “That was a romance to end all, as far as I was concerned,” she wrote. They were married on June 12, 1960, and decades later Esther shared, “My husband has been a wonderful help to me, with his strong arm and patient endurance” - for 46 years. Together they served in the Church Library and with Heritage Society of the Mid-Columbia. Esther was a known archivist and historian, descended from Puritans who emigrated from Caversham, England, on the good ship “Confidence.” Upon the death of her husband, Owen W. Todd in 2006, Esther made her home at Colonial Vista. She especially enjoyed ‘Gardening Grannies’ on Saturday mornings; conversation and prayer with her roommate, Lillie Rose. Esther continued with Heritage Society, attending the usual last meeting of spring in June, 2013. Her mode of transportation changed to the City of Wenatchee’s Link wheelchair van. Link drivers helped her to Post-Polio meetings and personal appointments.
Esther Stevens Todd is survived by nephew, Mark (Sandy) Booker of Othello, WA; niece, Paula Booker (Jim) Lambert of Boise, ID; niece, Carol Todd (Tom) Lewis and nephew, Terry Todd, both of Wenatchee; nephews, William Todd and Gary (Norma) Todd, both of Entiat, WA; numerous grand-nieces and grand-nephews and their children. Preceding her in death were her parents, Edward and Loraine Stevens; husband, Owen W. Todd; brother, Edward F. Stevens, Jr.; sister, Loraine Stevens Booker Poarch; brother-in-law, Robert Todd and wife, Nadine; and niece, Judy Todd.
A Funeral Service will be held Saturday, September 7, 2013, at 10:30 a.m. at Calvary Crossroads Church, 1301 Maple Street, Wenatchee. Visitation will be Friday, September 6, 2013, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Jones & Jones~Betts Funeral Home and at the church on Saturday, September 7, 2013, from 9:30 to 10:15 a.m., preceding the Service. Memorials may be given in Esther’s name to Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center, 127 S. Mission Street, Wenatchee, WA 98801. Please express your thoughts and memories on the online guestbook at jonesjonesbetts.com. Arrangements are by Jones & Jones~Betts Funeral Home, Wenatchee.