Esther Elizabeth Hurd Dovell, 104, passed away Wednesday, November 20, 2019, at her home on Westminster Canterbury Dr.
Esther was born on Easter Sunday April 4, 1915 in Oblong, IL, daughter of the late James and Rita Hurd. Growing up after World War 1, Esther and her siblings experienced a number of challenges. Never dwelling on the hardships of her early years she was profoundly grateful for her blessings. She writes about her childhood of living in Lufkin Texas that cultivated her love of the state. As a young woman she traveled and worked throughout the south eastern United States. She was known to make friends wherever she went from New Orleans to Miami to Washington DC, as a result she met her husband to be, Edwin. They were married, returned to the Shenandoah Valley to live and raise their five children. Her love of family, animals, art, her church, the outdoors, and learning were evident in her rich and textured life. Starting a family during the Depression her talents for growing a robust garden, canning, hand making her children’s clothes, hosting dinners for her large close-knit extended family allowed her to find ways to blend her talents with her love of art and the outdoors while caring for her children. She was able to infuse her affinity for cooking, sewing quilts, crocheting, embroidery and needlepoint into daily life. Esther and Ed owned and operated the Dovell Pony Farm and Produce route where the family delivered produce from the Shenandoah Valley to the D.C. area. Esther was proud of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She taught them to ride ponies, cook, care for others, find beauty in nature, and be a role model, and an example of the values and character traits by which we should aspire to live. She fostered a love of learning and supported the pursuits of their dreams and talents. Selflessly, she was the full time caregiver for her husband for 6 years when he fell ill. All the while still finding time for her young grandchildren and maintaining a small farm and animals. After being widowed, Esther devoted her time to her family and community. She loved her congregation at Meade Memorial Church in White Post, and other civic organizations. She was honored by the Clarke County Home Extension Club for her varied knowledge and many talents. She was a local historian on George Washington and collector of historical art portraying him. She was regionally known for her quilts and later her paintings. She began drawing in her 70’s and quickly gained recognition for her art. She was a prolific painter and seldom sold her art which has periodically been shown in numerous galleries and shows throughout the region. Her love and wonder of the world around her is showcased in the subject matter. In her 80’s Esther portrayed an artist for Westminster Canterbury’s float featured in the Apple blossom parade. Esther remained active throughout her 90’s traveling, enjoying family and pursuing her interests.
She continued to enjoy good health and remained active throughout her life long. In her later years, Esther attended the chapel at Westminster, and several art groups. She loved growing flowers and orchids, painting or crafting, playing Bingo and Dominos, having her hair and nails done, eating good food, visiting friends and family, dying Easter eggs and saying oke doke.
Surviving are her daughter Linda Cooke and husband Ronald; Her daughter, Rita King; her grandchildren, Danny, Crissy, Stanley, Debbie, Tommy, Steven, Carolyn, Wren, Bobby, and Robin and their families; her great grandchildren, Jay, Marcella, Hayden, Ella, A.J., Emmy, Vivienne, David Luke, Elijah, Sophia, Tyler, and Dylan; her son-in-law, Howard Bailey, her daughter-in-law, Becky Dovell, as well as many loving nieces and nephews and a large extended family. Esther was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Edwin, her daughter, Loretta Bailey; her son, Theodore Dovell and his wife, Helen; Her son, David Dovell; Her son-in-law, Clarence King; Her sister, Marie Hurd; her brothers, Frank, Henry, Edward Hurd and James Moore.
A Memorial Service will be held at 11 am on Saturday, November 30th, at Westminster Canterbury Chapel. Reception to follow. Reverend Elizabeth Lewis officiating.
A Celebration of Life and Reception will be held on Esther’s birthday, April 4, 2020, at Omps Reception Center, Amherst Chapel at 11AM.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Esther’s memory to Meade Memorial Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 159, White Post, VA 22663 or to Westminster Canterbury Fellowship Fund, 300 Westminster-Canterbury Drive, Winchester, VA 22603.