— Emma Estes, 104 and the salt of this Earth, passed from this life during the early afternoon of March 29, 2014, from injuries suffered in an accidental fall a week earlier, still possessing an iron will and a lion’s heart. She passed away quietly in the comfort of her son’s home surround by those who truly loved her.
She will be buried with her husband in Weatherford, where she spent the last years of her life.
A much loved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother, she was born in Plainview, Texas, on Nov. 21, 1909, to Jesse and Cora Goodson. She grew up poor, but immensely loved, in a family of six sisters and two brothers. The center of her world was a small, three-bedroom home one block off the town square in Wellington, Texas. It was a house where she and her brothers and sisters came of age and the house where she returned to give birth to all four of her children in the comfort and safety of her mother and father.
She shared a single bed in that house with four of her sisters sleeping three at the head and two at the foot. She met her husband, George Estes, shortly after she graduated from Wellington High School in 1929, and ran away after a brief courtship to marry him on Sept. 10, 1929, just weeks before the fall of the stock market and the start of the Great Depression. She followed her husband from state to state and across half of Texas from one construction job to the next, making a home and raising four children, two girls and two boys.
She was baptized in the White River in northern Arkansas while living in the small town of Flippin, Ark., raising a family while her husband worked building Bulls Shoals Dam. A hard-rock Baptist she had a very strong and deep belief in Christ.
She was honest, straight forward and set in her ways. The love, character and beliefs instilled in her by her parents were never compromised. Her house was always spotless. Her kitchen was that of a world-class cook. She loved color and always stopped to marvel and bask in the glory and beauty of nature. But most of all, she was a loving and caring mother to all her children.
After her husband’s retirement they moved to Mansfield, Texas, to be near her brothers. It was there that she and her husband built a brick home, her first real home since childhood, with land for a garden and livestock. She became a longtime member of the Walnut Creek Baptist Church. She was married to her husband for 52 years until his death in 1981. She worked until she was 95, retiring as a seamstress at Jim’s Cleaners in downtown Mansfield. She moved to Waxahachie, Texas, after her retirement to be near her two daughters and was the oldest member of the Farley Street Baptist Church.
She traveled the world in her later years, enjoying Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and the Holy Lands. She bought her first car when she was 92 and drove until she was 99, shortly after she moved to Weatherford to be near her son. She had the heartbreaking misfortune of watching her husband, her oldest son and both daughters die from cancer. Their deaths were something she never got over and she became a case study on how to adapt and how to move forward in the face of heartbreaking adversity.
Her youngest son will never forget her prayers and letters when he was fighting as a Marine in Vietnam. Her presence was felt on every patrol, every listening post and every night ambush during that terrible year. And when he came home she provided the comfort, support and guidance he so needed. A special thanks is to be paid to her granddaughters who loved her and who spent so much time helping her during the last years of her life. A lasting tribute is that she has great-granddaughters and great-great granddaughters named after her. She loved and was loved. She was quiet, shy, and unpretentious. A rock of ages she was an inspiration to all who knew and loved her.
She remained highly independent and lived alone until suffering declining health just before her 103rd birthday. A firm believer in exercise, she was pictured in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram leading an exercise class at age 91 in the senior citizens center in Mansfield. She celebrated her 100th birthday with a party arranged by her granddaughters that was attended by five generations of her family who had gathered from across the county. Weatherford College gave her a lifetime gift of free hair care on her 101st birthday at their beauty school in Mineral Wells, and the mayor of Weatherford gave her a proclamation on her 104th birthday declaring it “Emma Estes Day” in Weatherford.
She is survived by her youngest son, Charles Glenn Estes, of Weatherford; and 10 grandchildren, granddaughters Jenny Estes Clark, of Weatherford, Mandy Estes, of Gladstone, Australia, Debbie Paine, of Waxahachie, Tracy Harbour, of Cornith Miss., Sherri Hagenno, of Bull Shoal, Ark., Terri Reid, of Fort Towson, Okla., Ellen Cartwright, of San Antonio, Marci Baggs, of Austin, and grandsons Tim Taylor, of Shorewood Ill., and Wesley Estes, of Flippin Ark. She is also survived by 22 great-grandchildren and 26 great-great grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her father, mother and all of her siblings; her husband, George Estes; her oldest daughter, Wanda Jo Taylor; her oldest son, G.E. Estes Jr.; and her youngest daughter, Dorothy Nell Rogers.
Don’t cry for her; she is back with her family and in the hands of God.
Galbreaith-Pickard Funeral Chapel