Esther Isaacson

1912 - 2015

With the passing of Esther Isaacson on May 25 at age 102, the Santa Barbara County ranching community has lost a living link to its history. Esther died at home on Rancho El Chorro, east of Lompoc, where she had lived since arriving as a bride in 1939. She was the second child born in Solvang, where her parents, Anton and Karen Ibsen had helped to establish the Danish community in 1910. Anton Ibsen built numerous buildings in the town and surrounding valley before his untimely death when Esther was a young child. She went on to earn a teaching credential from Santa Barbara State College, and taught at the Solvang Grammar School. She met her husband, Baine Isaacson, a cattle rancher, at a dance in Los Olivos. The couple raised three boys, Deming, Bill, and Bob, on the ranch. Esther remembered when the first telephone was put in, and several ranches shared the same line. All her life, she kept phone conversations brief, scarcely saying goodbye before hanging up. During World War II, Baine served as a lookout for Japanese planes along the local coast, and the couple put up the mandatory blackout curtains each night at the ranch house. After Baine’s death in 1973, Esther traveled extensively. At home on El Chorro, she enjoyed reading, gardening, and hosting kite-flying parties and memorable children’s treasure hunts. She was preceded in death by her son Bob, and daughters-in-law Katherine and Karen. She leaves behind two sons, Deming and Bill, daughter-in-law Sally, six grandchildren: Tyler, Copeland, John, Tom, Holly and Katie Isaacson, and nine great-grandchildren. Several generations of the family continue to reside on El Chorro. The family is very grateful to Esther’s devoted caregivers. Details of a memorial celebration will be announced later. Donations in Esther’s memory may be made to the Wildling Art Museum, 1511B Mission Drive, Solvang, CA 93463.

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