Educated in Anthony Hill and Ponoka, Esther started her career as a teacher in Reo and Eastside. From there, she went on to study drama at Banff and Seattle and to work with the Everyman Theatre in Vancouver. In 1949 she took on the job of bringing theatre back to Alberta. The U of A Department of Extension had been charged with the task of creating and supporting post WWII communities through theatre and Esther was ready for the challenge! For the next 13 years, Esther in her orange Karmann Ghia drove solo all over the province to the smallest or largest community to teach, encourage and support any group that was willing to perform. It was a labour of love and her contributions to Canadian theatre were recognized in 1955 with the Dominion Drama Festival’s Canadian Drama Award.
Esther retired to live in Calgary where she went back to teaching for ten more years and worked towards her PhD. Years later she followed her other passions: painting, walking the Rocky Mountain trails, working on her Norwegian and Swedish family story, and enjoying winter sports with her many friends. Those friends of so many years, along with cousins, nieces and nephews from the Hagemann, Hoar, Nelson, and Paulson families, mourn her passing and celebrate her great life. Esther’s remains and those of longtime friend, Marilyn Perkins, will be buried in the Nelson plot in the Forest Home Cemetery in Ponoka. Her life will be remembered at the next Paulson Reunion with much joy and love.
Donations to the Calgary Foundation for the Elof and Thea Nelson Memorial Fund (which supports families caring for terminally ill loved ones at home in Ponoka) will be gratefully accepted in Esther’s memory at Ponoka FCSS.