Esther Melissa Bauman was born in Englewood, Colorado, to Charlotte and Cad Turpen on December 2, 1933. The youngest of three, she was predeceased by her parents, her sister Caroline Jones and brother Whitney Turpen. She passed away at peace with the world on April 13 at the age of 81. Divorced from Budrow Bauman after ten years of marriage, Esther had no children, but had five nieces, their children, and many close friends she counted as family.
Esther received an associates degree in education from Ventura College in California in 1960 where she was vice president of Alpha Gamma Sigma, a scholarship society. She went on to earn a bachelors degree in education from University of California at San Fernando 1964 and was a certified teacher. Esther found her calling in social work, however, and worked for the Los Angeles County Welfare Department for 28 years, retiring in 1989. She was a lifelong learner, taking classes at UCLA, then after retiring to North Carolina, at Blue Ridge Community College.
Esther was an intelligent, sardonically funny, beautiful woman who lived life on her own terms. She read widely and was an engaging conversationalist. Esther was an adventurous woman who loved to travel, and enjoyed gambling trips with her friends. She could present a cantankerous front at times, which camouflaged a generous spirit and a deeply spiritual inner life. Her years as a social worker gave her one outlet for her compassion, but we will never know all the people she helped personally over the years with food, clothing, shelter, cash, information, advice, and non-judgmental support. Her beloved dog, Belle, was a constant companion in her first years of retirement, and she cared as much for the welfare of animals as for people in need.
Esther will be interred alongside her brother Whitney and his wife, Ruth, in Denver, Colorado, at a later date. Those wishing to honor her memory could donate to the Manna Foodbank, Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Humane Society, or purchase artwork from Mouth and Foot Painting Artists, an organization Esther supported that helps disabled artists sell their work.