Esther Dutton (Christensen) KatesEsther Dutton (Christensen) Kates was born July 18, 1918, on the family farm in Wentworth, Wis. Esther was the daughter of Marinus and Marie (Neilsen) Christensen, who immigrated to Wisconsin from Denmark. Esther left the farm and moved to join her sister Julia in Rye, New York. Esther was employed by Sikorsky Aircraft during World War II and a seamstress.
Esther Dutton (Christensen) Kates was born July 18, 1918, on the family farm in Wentworth, Wis. Esther was the daughter of Marinus and Marie (Neilsen) Christensen, who immigrated to Wisconsin from Denmark. Esther left the farm and moved to join her sister Julia in Rye, New York. Esther was employed by Sikorsky Aircraft during World War II and a seamstress.
Teaching was her passion and she made her career change starting as a preschool director for 10 years. Esther then advanced to public education in the White Plains school system as a kindergarten teacher and continued there for the next 20 years.
Having the summers off, afforded Esther the opportunity to work at Mohawk Day Camp where she was a head counselor overseeing 25 junior counselors.
In 1964 under President Johnson, Esther became the first Head Start director for White Plains. Simultaneously, she became an active member of the White Plains community. She was a den mother for her sons, Leland and David, and she was actively involved with the PTA on the board. Esther was a member and President of The Auxiliary for White Plains Hospital, The White Plains Women's Club, The White Plains Retired Educators and The College Club of White Plains.
Esther relocated to Edgehill Retirement Community in Stamford, Conn. and became an active member on various committees. Esther became an avid water color painter, and in addition continued playing bridge in various clubs on a regular basis.
Esther is survived by her son David (Charlene), and grandchildren Nolan and Lynsie.
She is preceded by a son, Leland T. Dutton.
While married to Paul Kates, she retired from teaching and they began to travel the world. Paul, in Esther's honor started a scholarship at the Westchester Community College, The Esther Dutton Kates Foundation. This scholarship is given annually to a single mother in Westchester County. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the scholarship fund: 75 Grasslands Road, Valhalla, New York 10595. Interment will be private, there are no calling hours. A celebration of Esther's life will be held at the Edgehill Community Room on Thursday, March 22, at 10 a.m.
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