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Esther Walker Bird
August 13 1926 – March 17 2019
Resident of Walnut Creek for 52 years
Followed by 10 years of retirement at the Veterans Home in Yountville, CA.
On Sunday, March 17th at 11:30 a.m., Esther Walker Bird passed away at the age of 92 from a viral infection. She touched many lives with her loving spirit, smiles, and the gratitude she felt and expressed to others.
Esther was born in Berkeley, CA, in the family home of Nelda Schneider and Charles Walker, where she was welcomed by sisters Barbara and Jean and followed by brother David. After her graduation from Berkeley High School, Esther worked for Airco as a switchboard operator. It was there that she met an accountant and World War II veteran who would become her husband and lifelong companion, Francis H. Bird.
Over the next 67 years, Esther and Francis built a home in Walnut Creek, raised three children, Wayne, Tari, Larry, and Patricia, tended their garden together, and finally moved into the Yountville Veterans Home together. At the Veterans Home, Esther and Frank loved going to baseball games and the theater and on outings with the veterans. Esther played a fierce game of bocce on the Yountville courts and proclaimed a limitless appetite for ice cream. Esther is survived by her husband Francis H. Bird, and three children Wayne Bird (wife Tari), Larry Bird, Patricia Tice.
Throughout her married life, Esther spent much of her time maintaining her household and working in the half acre of garden that she kept with Frank. She could often be found among the berry brambles and tomato bushes and rows of corn, planting, pulling weeds, pruning, and harvesting. Her work continued into the kitchen where she transformed the garden’s yield into lunches and dinners, jams, jellies, cobblers, pies, and canned goods, always to the lilt of a quietly hummed tune.
After their little Birds flew the nest and Frank retired, Esther put her talent for baking in service of the Acalanes Union High School District. She spent nine years in the district’s cafeterias and fostered several lifelong friendships. On Saturdays, Esther and Frank often joined their watercolor group on outings around the Bay Area, where they would paint among friends and share a picnic. Those afternoons became gifts to friends and family and a part of their home, framed on their walls to be shared with guests.
And there were plenty of guests. Esther cherished her relationships with family and friends. She and Frank hosted holiday get-togethers, barbecues and pool parties with neighbors and friends, and dinner parties with their painting and other social groups. Both before and after her children left the Bird Nest, Esther also enjoyed family camping vacations in California and visiting friends and family flung across the United States.
Although Esther loved and made time for all of her family, nothing came easier to her than loving and attending to the younger generations. She knitted and crocheted Christmas stockings for her children as well as many of her nephews, nieces, and grandchildren, and she rarely looked happier than when she had a baby on her lap. She poured affection on her grandchildren Naomi, Lydia, and Shawn, and great grandchildren Ruthanne, Nathan, Hannah, and Aletheia. She looked forward to meeting Naomi and Paul's latest addition, Andrew, born October 13th 2019. Esther loved four generations of nieces and nephews as she did her own. She will no doubt be fondly remembered for years to come.
Services and Fellowship will be held on April 26th, starting at 3:00 PM, at:
Hillcrest Congregational Church
404 Gregory Lane
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523