Estelle Ostby was born to Earl G. and Lucille Ostby. She was their first and only child; Lucille died when Estelle was only 10 months old. Shortly thereafter, Earl gave over care of Estelle to his brother, Bernard, and sister-in-law, Alice. He remarried, moved to California, and died there in 1931, when his only daughter was four.
In 1936, Bernard, Alice, and Estelle moved to Detroit, Michigan. Bernard's father Bernhard lived with them until his death in 1941.
Estelle married George Leigh in Detroit circa 1948, and they had 3 children: Liana, Glenn ("Dani"), and Laurie.
George and Estelle moved to Alpena in the mid-1980s. They lived in a small home they had built in the woods. Estelle loved living in such a rural setting; as one of her grandkids, I got to visit every summer and share her joy. She taught me a lot about the flora and fauna that surrounded her every day. Estelle was a talented artist and writer whose inspirations were nature and her faith in Jesus; she was a devout Lutheran to the end of her life.
My Grandma Estelle was quirky and creative. We all got such a kick out of her. She loved to paint and work on crafts. One of her favorite hobbies when was to make dozens of little handmade Easter baskets to take up to the old folk's home as presents. She also loved to write, whether it be short stories or poems, and played the keyboard, both old standards and pop songs.
It's been years since she left us, and I still remember her smile, her voice, and the way she'd cackle like a child when she was feeling feisty - she might even crack a (very mild) naughty joke when she got to feeling that way. She loved dogs, and doted on several over the years. She was also an incurable pack rat, a hobby that my childhood self had absolutely no problems with, because it meant I could dig through her craft closets and always come up with amazing little trinkets!
Estelle died in a hospice after a brief illness, with George by her side, 4 days before Christmas. He left us less than 3 months later. I miss them both every single day. How I wish I could see Grandma again, just one more time, to tell her how deeply I love her. I hope she knew.