Esther A. Woods

Date of Birth

October 27, 1931

Date of Death

June 24, 2019

City of Death

Santa Barbara, CA

A remarkable life came to an end on June 24 when Esther Woods passed away at age 87 following complications from surgery.

Esther Ann Woods was born on October 27, 1931 to Jorgen H. and Marie (Anderson) Jendresen, later being joined by twin sisters Marie and Margaret at the family home at 821 East Carrillo Street. Her extended family was active in ranching in the Santa Ynez Valley and in the early development of Solvang and the Danish community throughout the county.

She attended Jefferson Elementary School, Santa Barbara Junior High, and graduated from Santa Barbara High School is 1949. Her dream of attending Stanford was postponed by the reality of finding work in post-war California.

In 1951, Esther was hired by General Telephone as a switchboard operator, launching a career that spanned 37 years and positions of increasing responsibility. Her career at GTE had many highlights – leading retail operations, representing the company on several community boards, and serving as the liaison with President Reagan’s White House Communications Department during his many visits to Santa Barbara. Perhaps her most notable achievement at GTE was serving as a role model and mentor to countless women embarking on their own professional journeys. These special relationships endured past her retirement, with many of these women staying in daily contact up until her passing.

Esther spent nearly nine decades in Santa Barbara, impacting countless lives with her leadership, her sense of humor, and her unyielding high standards for herself and for those in her life.

She was preceded in death by her son Gary, her longtime companion Frank Gregory, and numerous family members and special friends that shared a lifetime of experiences with her.

Esther is survived by her son Clancy (Jill) of Scottsdale, AZ, her sister Marie Fairbanks (Charles) of Santa Barbara, and her sister Margaret Wetzel (John) of Potomac Falls, VA. She is also survived by her seven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, her beloved nieces and nephews and their extended families.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00PM on July 20, 2019 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Santa Barbara.


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