The following Biography was written by Esther's daughter, Kay:
Esther Reid Tussey
3/5/09 - 8/17/02
|Reid Sisters - The 4 younger Reid sisters. Oldest to youngest in this photo are: Evelyn, Ruth, Lucille & Esther.||Esther Reid|
Esther was bom in 1909 on a farm in rural Nebraska near the small town of Swanton.
She was the youngest of eleven children bom to Oste and James Reid. She
often spoke of the early days on the farm and the closeness the family and extended families shared. She told of everyone, including all the married sisters and brothers and their families being together every Sunday for dinner and her mother not blinking an eye at preparing a meal for twenty or thirty. She mentioned how protective her big brothers were, leading her on the horse to school on bitter, snowy winter days. They walked along the railroad tracks to keep their bearings. She was the baby and was admittedly favored by her big sisters. She remembered the family's first automobile - a Reo touring car - and how her father would always check the weather before driving the family to town - in case it might rain and they couldn't get back over the muddy roads.
She attended and graduated from high school in nearby DeWitt where she met her future husband, Carroll Tussey. They were married in 1930 and took up residence in DeWitt. Carroll worked as a trucker, hauling livestock to Omaha, and Esther was usually by his side, even helping to drive on occasion.
Their son, Jack was bom in 1931. They lived next door to Carroll's parents and Jack enjoyed doting grandparents. When Jack was a small baby, his paternal grandmother was in a fatal accident and left a young daughter. Alberta, nine years old. Esther and Carroll helped raise Alberta and she came to live with them for a time. Esther, a young mother, now took on the responsibility of helping to raise another child. They moved to a small farm near DeWitt and struggled through the difficult depression years, always working side by side. A daughter, Kay, was bom in 1937. Brother Jack was a little disappointed. His Grandpa Tussey had helped him set a trap for the stork to bring a new arrival and Jack was hoping for a baby calf. But he resigned himself to the fact that he had a little sister.
In 1941 the family moved back to DeWitt and Carroll went to work in the local wrench factory, producing goods for the World War II effort. Esther, as usual, helped out by working at the local cafe. They moved to Lincoln for a short time, but returned to DeWitt when they were asked to manage a cold storage locker recently installed in the local general store. Upon their return they built a new home in DeWitt. Quite an undertaking just at the end of the war when building supplies were scarce. They solved the problem by buying an old farmhouse, tearing it down and using the lumber. What they didn't count on was the large colony of wasps that had taken up residence in the abandoned house, but they eventually evicted the unwanted tenants
|Esther Reid Tussey|
Their life was busy with work, socializing, Esther's Eastern Star activities,
Kay's music recitals and Jack's participation in school sports. Esther was a
soloist and sang in the church choir as well as for any social events, weddings
or funerals in the small town - usually by herself, and sometimes with her sisters.
When Jack graduated from high school in 1948 he joined the Navy and was stationed in San Diego, California. He made contact with a family from Nebraska who were living in Los Angeles. They were operating a boarding house for students at Los Angeles City College and were looking for some help. Jack had them contact his Mom and Dad and after many phone calls and letters Carroll and Esther decided to pull up roots and, with their daughter, headed for the great adventure to Hollywood, California. Esther became the cook at the boarding house and Carroll and Esther became surrogate parents to many students away from their homes. They maintained contact with those young men for many years. Within a short time Esther and Carroll went into the restaurant business for themselves - first at a small hot dog stand (now probably called a fast food) and later they owned a small restaurant.
Jack remained in the Navy for several years and then made a career in law enforcement.
He and his wife, Mary Lou, had two sons, Mike and Pat and a daughter, Kathy
and they blessed Esther and Carroll with five great-grandchildren. Kay married
her high school sweetheart, Phil, and they had a son, Jeff and daughter, Jennie.
Esther and Carroll enjoyed family above all. Holidays were always spent together
as well as many Sunday dinners. Esther took after her mother and made it look
easy to put together a big family meal of fried chicken or roast turnkey and dressing and home made apple pies.
After many years of hard work (always side by side) Esther and Carroll were
able to retire to a beautiful community in Fallbrook, California. Their daughter
and family lived in nearby Orange County and their son. Jack and all his family
were close by in San Diego. With their new home in the country they came full
circle, returning to their love of rural life - but on a much smaller scale. They planted large vegetable gardens, a small orchard of fruit trees and Carroll even raised some hens and a nasty resident rooster.
A few years later they simplified things by moving to an active retirement
in Valley Oaks Mobile Home Park where they had many, many friends. Esther was
with social events at the park's clubhouse, acting as chairman of the potluck dinners and also entertaining around the area singing with a women's chorus. She also continued to follow her beloved Dodger baseball team. In 1980 Kay and Phil moved to Northern California, but many trips were made back for visits and all the family events. In 1996 Esther and Carroll suffered a terrible blow when they lost their beloved son. Jack. A heart attack took him suddenly and without warning.
Soon after, Carroll's health began to seriously fail and Esther cared for him at home as long as she was able. He eventually moved into a nursing home where Esther
visited him everyday. In spite other advanced age she was totally dedicated to being with him daily and tending to his needs even though he was away from home. This continued until his death in 1998. Esther and Carroll had been together and devoted to one another for sixty-eight years. In 1999 Esther was devastated when she lost another family member, her grandson. Kay and Phil's son, Jeff, succumbed to asthma, a disease he had suffered all his life.
Esther continued to care for herself and maintain her home in Valley Oaks until
she reached the age of ninety-one. In 2000 her daughter persuaded her to move
Fremont, California to be close to her family, but she wasn't ready to be dependent. She moved, but set up housekeeping for herself in a senior mobile park and continued to be active socially. She joined the Saturday morning ladies group for coffee each week and participated in many of the park's social events. In November of 2001 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent surgery. She fought hard to come back but she was not able to resume her independent life. She went to live in a residential board and care home for a short period.
In August of 2002, now frail and tired at ninety-three she passed away. She led a full life and left us a great example by being strong, but not overbearing; good-natured, but not docile; dependable, but not dependent; and above all, a loving and caring wife, mother, grandmother and friend.
|Esther Reid Tussey|