Esther A. Closner

May 2, 2021


Esther Alice (Rector) Closner passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on Sunday, May 2, 2021. Esther was born on April 8, 1927 in Walla Walla, WA to Gladys and John Rector. Her love of laughter and learning led her to become a Home Economics teacher at Washington Jr. High, in Yakima where she fell in love with John Closner, a principal intern. They were married December 26, 1956 at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Esther’s love of education was evident as she pioneered Montessori in the Yakima valley. Generations of students have returned over the years to visit and spend time with her.

Quilting was a passion of Esther’s, and she gifted all of her family with exceptional works of art. She enjoyed meeting with her quilting friends and sharing pieces. Her flower gardens were always bursting with color and designs. Beautifully canned fruit graced her shelves each fall. Delicious Christmas cookies and breads were baked with her children and grandchildren. Being an avid reader, she could often be found immersed in a novel with a cat on her lap or a dog at her feet.

Forever the teacher, she loved hiking and camping with her family. There was always a tide pool at the beach or a nursery log in the forest to explore with the children. She had an adventurous soul and was up for any trip up and down the coast or around the country, exploration during the day, laughter and stories in the evening. One of her favorite places to relax was the cabin up on Chinook Pass with family and her dear friend Phyllis. Her many close friends over the years could be found feeling “11:00-ish” for coffee and conversation in the backyard. This was extended into bridge club or plenty of backyard barbecues.

Esther was preceded in death by her parents, and her two brothers, Bob (Pauline) and Wayne (Joyce). She is survived by her husband, John Closner, sons Mike (Darcy) Closner, Jeff (Michelle) Closner, and daughter Laurie (Lance) Barber. She was blessed with six grandchildren: Brittany (Carl), Kimmy Jo, Nathan, Megan, Brett, and Ellie. Her two great-grandchildren, Paxtyn and Dante, loved to have a maple bar with Nonnie on weekends. While Mom is no longer here with us, we know she is dancing in heaven and planning our next adventure. She loved her family, and we loved her. The family would like to thank the devoted staff at Living Care for their compassionate support. A private family service will be held at a later date. In memory of Esther, donations can be made to the charity of your choice.

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