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Ester was a tall, elegant woman who had the gifts of style and grace. Her radiating smile, sincerity, strength and compassion were shared unconditionally with family, friends and everyone she met.
Ester Karen (Hansen) Breed died at home on October 12, 2017. She was born April 15, 1927 to H. Chris and Ellen (Rasmussen) Hansen in Plainwell, Michigan. Her parents emigrated from Denmark in the early 20’s, and Ester’s cultural heritage was an important part of her life. She made several trips to Denmark and maintained connections with her Danish family and friends.
Ester graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in elementary education and was a talented art major. There she and fellow art student Charles Breed fell in love. On July 30, 2017, they celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary.
Ester and Charles moved to Midland, Michigan in 1950, where she taught first grade for two years in the Midland Public Schools. She then stayed home for fourteen years with their two daughters. Ester loved children of every age, even through all their adorable and challenging stages. This genuine compassion made her an outstanding mother, grandmother, and a treasured substitute teacher for twenty-five years. During the past year, Ester experienced absolute delight in watching her great-grandson grow and begin walking via Skype with her granddaughter’s family in Oregon.
Ester was a charter member of P.E.O. Chapter CZ, a philanthropic educational organization supporting Cottey College and other academic opportunities for women. She was also a member of Monday Club and active in the docent program at the Midland Center for the Arts.
For over 50 years, Ester loved creating memories with family and friends at their vacation home on Long Lake near Traverse City, Michigan. She considered this uniquely designed setting to be her contemplative environment, a true “heaven on earth.” Each full moon was a cause for celebration, either with a “Full Moon Rising” party or shared quietly with only a few others.
Ester loved traveling, spending time with family and friends, and was always a welcoming host sharing her artistic and delicious culinary skills. The following quotes from her friends show how she touched the lives of so many: “She is my exceptional female role model.” “Her moon lights our lives.” “Ester is the most perfect person I know…her serenity, her own personal creativity, taste, perception, empathy and ability to bring a little peace into your life throughout the year…well the only word is remarkable.”
Ester is survived by her husband, Charles; daughters Crisann Breed (R. Erick Johnson), Suzann (David) Middleton; grandchildren Annalise (Joseph) Koffa,
Bjorn Johnson, Ian Middleton, Aren Middleton and one great grandson Elif Koffa; sister Betty Breed (who married Charles’ brother Sterling); and cousin Paul Hansen. Countless friends, whom she loved as family, also survive her. Many of these friends came to visit and share their love with Ester during her last weeks of living. The family wishes to thank the incredible in-home caregivers and hospice team, whose care allowed Ester to maintain her rich life in her home of 63 years, until her last day.
Friends are invited to join the family later in 2018, when her ashes will be spread in the Memorial Circle on top of Dahlia Hill. The Autumnal Equinox sculpture in circle six of the Dahlia garden is dedicated to Ester for the loving support of her husband’s art and Dahlia Hill.
Donations can be made to the Dahlia Hill Society of Midland or P.E.O. Cottey College.
Smith-Miner Funeral Home is assisting the family. On line condolences can be left at smithminer.com.