On Sept. 14, 2020, Esther Eilene Neyens went to be with her Lord and Savior.
She was born on June 17, 1927, in Bellingham to Sigurd and Eunice (McMillin) Nordquist. Esther was a lifelong resident of Whatcom County and spent the last three years at Lynden Manor, where she lived a rich life, reconnecting with many special friends from her past.
She graduated from Bellingham High School in 1945 and attended St. Joseph School of Nursing, graduating as a registered nurse in 1948.
Esther began her nursing career at St. Luke’s Hospital, then moved to North Bellingham Hospital. After several years, she took a number of years off to raise a family. During those years, she continued her nursing skills by volunteering to give immunizations at the local schools. Esther later went to work as the nurse for Dr. Spady in his Everson office. She was his nurse for 23 years before she retired from her active nursing career. In retirement she still took people’s blood pressure at the senior center.
Esther always put others before herself and was blessed with the gift of service. She held the hands of patients who couldn’t bear the stick of a needle, listened as people needed a word of encouragement, as well as rush to the home of someone needing care. She was not shy about her faith in Jesus and would regularly pray with those needing comfort. She touched more lives than we’ll ever know. As one of her friends recently stated, “She was a true lady in every sense of the word. She was an example of what Christianity is all about.” She deeply cared for family, friends and neighbors.
Esther met her husband, Anton, at church youth group, and they were married for 70 years. Rumor is that she liked his car. They married on June 16, 1948, in the little town of Coupeville, with both their mothers as witnesses. The Neyens had three boys. Through their family years, they lived in Everson. Esther also had the gift of hospitality and enjoyed friends dropping by, where their home was always open to others for a cookie, dinner or dessert. The family fondly remembers having her Sunday dinner of roast, potatoes and creamed beans. She had a passion for knitting as she knitted countless numbers of booties and afghans for missionaries, family and friends. She was part of a missionary sewing group at her church and a knitting club at the Everson public library; at both she enjoyed the time with her friends. She was a member and regular attender at Christ Fellowship Church.
After she and Anton retired, they traveled around the state of Washington selling school busses. Truly, she sold more buses than he did because she was sure to bring her famous baked goods to “sweeten the deal.” They enjoyed these years together as they made many new friends and spent many days together doing what they enjoyed.
Esther was preceded in death by her parents, Sigurd and Eunice (McMillin) Nordquist, and her husband, Anton.
She is survived by her brother, Arnold (Betty Lou) of Bellingham; three sons: Stephen (Rhona) of Nooksack and their children Erin (Val), Stephen (Lianna), Megan (Benjamin); David (Laurie) of Arlington and their children David J. (Lindsey) and Jared; Richard of Everson and his children Matthew and Brianne; as well as seven great-grandchildren: Xavier, Harper, Olivia, Mason, Maddox, Matia and Cooper; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family thanks the doctors, nurses and staff of Whatcom Hospice Foundation, PeaceHealth, the Christian Health Care Center and Lynden Manor for their attentive, thoughtful care of Esther during the past three years.
A private graveside service will be held for immediate family, with a memorial service to be at a later date.
Memorial donations can be made to Christ Fellowship Church, 1208 E. Main St., Everson, WA 98247.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Gillies Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Lynden.