|Birth: ||Jul. 5, 1918|
|Death: ||Aug. 14, 2001|
Esther Lena Messner, our mother, was born on 5 July 1918 in Leslie, Ingham, Michigan, the first of four children born to Joseph Peter and Hazel (Hill) Messner.
After her parents' divorce, when Mom was about 12 years old, her brothers, Walter (1919-1980) and Philip (1924-1975) lived with their father and his parents, while Esther and her youngest brother, Clifford (1931-2005) lived with their mother.
Times were difficult for Esther, Clifford and their mother; their income was very small. Mom remembered pulling a wagon door-to-door selling items that their mother would make, including hand-crocheted doilies and home-baked bread. She lived with her grandparents at times and in a series of foster homes when her mother was ill and unable to care for her.
In the depths of the Great Depression, Esther, Clifford, their mother, Hazel, and Hazel's sister, Agnes Wheeler joined with a communal organization called "The Direct Credits Society." That program was popular for a few years in Michigan during the 1930's.
During the early 1940's Mom left her home in Jackson, Michigan and caravanned with friends to Southern California. She worked at a variety of jobs including retail clerking, setting pins at a bowling alley, and as a live-in maid & nanny.
She eventually moved to Northern California where she met her future husband,Thomas Clark. She was working as a waitress at a café in the small mountain community of Challenge, California, That cafe was partly owned by Tom's sister, Pearl Manley.
Tom and Esther were married in 1946. Their first home was in a logging camp near Challenge. Dad's main occupation was logging. While living in Challenge, two children were born: James Stanley (February 22, 1947) and Shirley Ann (May 29, 1948.)
In 1949 they bought their first house, which was located in the Yuba County township of Arboga. In 1955 they also bought the adjacent house. On March 22 of that year, their youngest daughter, Glenda Raye, was born.
Esther enjoyed her life as a wife and mother, being very involved with her children's activities. She was leader of the Arboga chapter of the Bluebirds and Camp Fire youth programs when both of her daughters were of that age.
In 1962 Dad died of a heart attack. Mom continued raising us with the help of her sister-in-law, Pearl.
After Aunt Pearl's death in 1966, Mom and our younger sister, Glenda, moved to Bremerton, Washington. There she worked at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard until her retirement in 1990.
She loved babies and small children. She made dozens of blankets, quilts and little gowns. She enjoyed sewing by hand, making doll cloths for her granddaughters, and also little play outfits. (She also did a lot of our mending, which, I'm sorry to say, my sister and I dread doing.)
Later in life she became a member of the Assemblies of God, and was involved in missionary work. She often helped out at a church orphanage in Mexico, and gave generously of what she had on hand. She would share her home with those who needed a temporary place to live, giving them food and shelter, only asking that they respect the rules of the house. We worried at times about Mom's safety, but she trusted in the Lord to protect her.
Mom died at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle in 2001 at the age of 83. She was a great mother to us, and a loving grandmother. We lost our very best friend when she died. We buried her with our father at Sierra View Cemetery, near Marysville, California.
We'd like to thank God's Special Angel for sponsoring our mother's page. God bless you for your kindness, Linda.
Bio added by SA Rose
Sierra View Memorial Park
Created by: JS Clark
Record added: Apr 04, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 18765830