Esther Carol Bennett
Esther Carol Bennett, age 81, died at home in her sleep on January 26, 2021.
Born August 26, 1939, in Wahkon, MN, Esther was the youngest of nine children of James and Florence Brinks. She lived in small towns in North Dakota, Nebraska, and Oregon before moving to Portland, where she graduated from high school.
After graduating from Westmont College, Esther taught for one year in Orcutt and then returned to Santa Barbara where she taught English at La Cumbre Junior High School for five years. During that time she fell in love with and married her next door neighbor, Don. Together they raised two sons, Jim and Brad. For the last few years Don cared for Esther at home as her Alzheimer’s progressed.
Esther was a member of First Presbyterian Church for over 60 years, where she sang in the choir, taught church school, served as a Deacon and Elder, and coordinated meals for Transition House. For nineteen years she worked as Director of Christian Education and then Director of Adult Education, where she loved teaching and mentoring, especially young mothers. She remained passionate about teaching, later earning a certificate to teach ESL in the SBCC Adult Education program.
Esther fostered in those she loved an appreciation of faith, music, good food, and remaining connected to extended family. Esther’s family was her biggest priority and source of pride. She always had a welcoming home and beautiful meals that brought the family together for some of our most special memories. Among her other favorite things were reading, singing, and reciting rhymes she learned as a child. Family and friends appreciated her warm smile and welcoming laugh and she took special pride in being silly.
Esther is survived by Don, her husband of 56 years, sons Jim (Amy) and Brad (Lynee), three grandchildren (Megan, Nicholas, and Matthew), and a sister, Florence Larsson, of Seattle.
The family will hold a private graveside service later this month with hopes for a memorial service when conditions allow.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to First Presbyterian Church of Santa Barbara.