Esther's Story

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Beloved sister, wife and mother, Esther Kristina (Ruohonen) Kish went home to the Lord December 22, 2017. She was 96 years old.
Esther was born in Ashtabula, Ohio, March 30, 1921, the daughter of the late Edward and Ellen (Lahtinen) Ruohonen. A first generation American, Esther began kindergarten speaking only Finnish, becoming fluent in English and graduating from Harbor High School in 1939. For many years, she faithfully drove to Ashtabula monthly to meet with the "Harbor Girls" from her graduating class. She was a 50+ year resident of Fairview Park, Ohio, and a member of Messiah Lutheran Church of Fairview Park, Ohio.
She was a hard worker, starting with her first job at the age of 15, babysitting for a family in her hometown for 25 cents per day. Throughout her life she scrubbed hides in a tannery, worked as a waitress, a machinist and a stay-at-home mother. At the age of 63 and two years from retirement as a data clerk at Glidden Company, Esther was approached by the Potter and Mellen Jewelry Company in search of a pearl stringer. To train for her new career, she took an intensive training course through the Gemological Institute of America in Philadelphia and went on to become one of the region's finest pearl stringers, working through the age of 95 with jewelers such as Peter & Co. Jewelers and Yeager Jewelers among others.
One of the highlights of her life was traveling to Finland with her sisters in 1996, visiting relatives during their stay. She especially enjoyed eating salmon four times a day during that trip. As they toured through Finland, the locals marveled at how well she spoke Finnish and often asked how long she had been gone.
Esther also had the opportunity to travel to northern Michigan with her sisters, where she donated a Finnish Bible to the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock, Michigan. She was 86 when she served as the driver for her sisters on that trip. Fiercely independent, she continued to drive through the age of 95.
Ester is survived by her sister Dorothy (Bud - deceased) Ecklund; sister Elona (David) Hoffman; niece Betty Harps; and nephew William Ruohonen.
In addition to her parents, Esther is preceded in death by her brother William; her husband of 35 years Frank; their son Frank Edward; daughter-in-law Joanne; and granddaughter Tamara.
A Memorial Service will be held at 11AM on January 3, 2018, at Messiah Lutheran Church, 21485 Lorain Road, Fairview Park, Ohio, 44126. Reverend Dr. Jerome Burce will officiate.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Hospice of the Western Reserve,1166 Lake Avenue, Ashtabula, Ohio, 44004.
ZABACK-WILLIAMS-DUCRO FUNERAL HOME, 500 West Prospect Road, Ashtabula, Ohio, is handling arrangements. www.ducro.com
Published on December 26, 2017
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