The last survivor of twelve children, Esther was born to James and Nancy (Wright) Johnson in Pike County, Kentucky. She graduated from Pikeville High School and attended Pikeville College. She moved to Wooster, Ohio in 1934 as the young bride of Alvin E. Rhamy, where she lived and raised her family. Alvin passed away in 1944 at age 36, leaving her a young widow with two small children, Nancy and Alvin (Bud) to care for. She remarried in 1951 to Walter W. Simmons and they became parents of a daughter, Anne Elizabeth (Beth). Walter died fourteen years later in 1965.
Known as Wooster Community Hospital?s ?Angel of Mercy? for 29 years, Esther became an employee of the Wooster Community Hospital Auxiliary, and was widely known as ?The TV Lady.? She met more hospital patients than any other person, and always had time for a kind word for patients who were scared and depressed, and rejoiced with those who recovered. For those who did not, she felt those losses keenly, for she felt true joy and satisfaction in seeing a patient recover. When she finally retired, she left something behind called ?healing.?
Even after she retired, she continued working part-time for Buehler?s Grocery Store on Market Street as the ?Demonstration Lady,? giving out samples of food, and with her vivacious personality, nearly always sold out of the product being offered. She remained active in the community until 1997, and then relocated to Sierra Vista, Arizona, to be near her two daughters. She lived independently until an unfortunate accident in August of 2003, which required her to be relocated to an Assisted Living Facility. She remained there until an illness in January 2005, which required her to be admitted to a skilled nursing facility, the Life Care Center of Sierra Vista. She resided there until her death on April 10, 2008.
Active in the Central Christian Church in Wooster, Ohio, she was a member of the Church?s Dinner Committee and the Executive Board for Women?s Fellowship. She served as Chairman of the Hospitality Committee. While living in Sierra Vista, she attended the First Christian Church. In addition to her church work, she found time to travel, and was always ready and packed when a trip was mentioned. Esther loved to entertain, and was well-known for her cooking and baking skills.
Known as ?Nannie? to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, she will be forever remembered by them, as they loved everything about her. She was the family ?Matriarch,? and no one can ever replace her.
She leaves behind two daughters; Nancy (Robert) Bridges, and Anne Elizabeth ?Beth? (Larry) Ford, living in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Her only son, Alvin E. ?Bud? Rhamy, predeceased her suddenly in 1987.
She also leaves behind, three grandchildren; Steven C. Miller, Lakeville, Ohio; Ronald L. Miller (Kathleen) of Chester, New Jersey; and Jill Marie (Richard) Sizemore of Barberton, Ohio, as well as five great-grandchildren; Neena (Danny) Sharier and Paula Trippe; Jaclyn, Samantha, and Christopher Miller; three step-grandchildren, Matthew, John (Christina) Bridges, and Dana (Ron) Williams, three step-great-grandchildren; Drew, John Robert, and Amy Williams, and one step-great-great grandson, Colin Sharier, as well as an extended family throughout the country.
Esther was indeed a ?Grand Lady.? She will be greatly missed by all who knew her and her unique sense of humor, her famous smile, her wit and charm and her love of life.
There will be a visitation at McIntire, Davis and Greene Funeral Home, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 17th, and the funeral service will be held at the Central Christian Church on Market Street on Friday, April 18th, at 11 a.m., Rev. Kevin Phipps officiating. She will then be interred at the Blachleyville Cemetery near her first husband, Alvin E. Rhamy. A luncheon will be provided at the Central Christian Church following interment, and all friends and family are welcome.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Central Christian Church, or any charity of your choice.
Rest in peace, mother. You will be dearly missed.
Arrangements in Wooster are by McIntire, Davis & Greene Funeral Home on Larwill Street in Wooster, Ohio.
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Central Christian Church of any charity of choice.
Friday, April 18, 2008 at 11:00 A.M. at the Central Christian Church
Thursday evening from 6-8:00 P.M. at the funeral home