Zoom Link for Service at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church Monday November 29, 2021 10:00am
Joan Marie (Hildebrandt) Estey
1934 – 2021
Joan Marie (Hildebrandt) Estey, 87, the matriarch of the Estey family, passed away peacefully surrounded by her loving family on Nov. 24 at the Filosa Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Danbury, Conn.
The daughter of the late Marie and Herbert T. Hildebrandt, Joan was born in Brooklyn, NY and grew up in Maywood, N.J., where she attended public schools graduating from Bogota High. A strong believer in the importance of education for herself and her children, Joan earned an Associate’s Degree in Retailing from Lasell College in Newton, Mass., and a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, N.J.
Through her employment with the then Esso Standard Co. (Exxon) in Manhattan, Joan was offered the opportunity to get her Master of Business Administration in Personnel at Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management in Ithaca, N.Y, an impressive accomplishment for a woman at that time, the only female in her graduating class.
In that graduation class, Joan met the love of her life, Richard B. Estey, her study partner and best friend for the next 65+ years. They loved dancing, music, Broadway, and visiting family and friends. They married and settled down in Ithaca in 1961 and then started her family in 1963. This is where Joan’s true career started: raising her four children. What she learned in human resources she created with her children.
By 1966 they had moved to their permanent family home in Watertown, CT (53 years) where for the next 20+ years Joan had a diverse schedule of school, community service, athletics, church and family time in each of her children’s schedules. One of the most notable family events was the purchase of Surry Mountain Camping Area In 1971, where Joan, Richard and their four children ran the campground for the next 13 years in Surry, N.H. The children learned the importance of working together and being responsible for the care of the campers. When Richard arrived on weekends, Joan was most happy to pass over the strenuous chores, but she particularly enjoyed venturing from site to site with Richard in the evening, enjoying fireside chats with friends and family. Certainly you could always find Joan by her echoing, contagious laugh!
Despite “the Campground” not being Joan’s favorite career, the bonus was earning “Haus Hildebrandt,”Joan and Richard’s second home on the beautiful shores of Long Pond in Lempster, N.H. This little cabin provided a sanctuary that was filled with countless happy gatherings of family and friends.
Joan then focused more of her energies on volunteering her time and fostering her generous spirit. She continued her passion for gardening and the Watertown Garden Club, extended Lutheran Church duties beyond church to starting programs such as New Beginnings which provides back to school clothes/ supplies to less fortunate children in the greater Waterbury Area. Involvement in the Waterbury Cancer Society increased, acting as Director and Board member. Despite limited income, Joan never stopped donating to non-profits including Veterans with Disabilities, Doctors without Borders, St. Jude’s Hospital, ASPCA, Arbor Day Foundation, just to name a few….
Joan also loved to travel, particularly to Puerto Rico, and researching her German family tree in Europe. Her connection to the Spanish/ Latin culture, which embraces love for family and giving care, was apparent in her relationships with many caregivers who became friends in her later years.
Joan was devoted to her loving husband, Richard, and had the opportunity to celebrate their 60th Anniversary milestone with her whole family this past May 27. Besides her husband, she leaves her children: Margaret McLoone and her husband, Kevin, of Brookfield, CT; Diana Estey of Mill Valley, CA.; Richard Estey and his wife, Robin, of Yardley, PA; and Alison Estey and her husband, Matt Guffey, of Stowe, VT. She also leaves her 10 grandchildren: Daniel, Melissa, Heather, and Colin McLoone; Rachel, Caroline, Samuel, and Jonah Estey; and Tomforde “TJ” and Parker Estey-Guffey. She also leaves a sister, Gesine Abrutyn, of Delaware. She was predeceased by her sister Elaine LaGasse. She also leaves her Godchildren Marjorie Helly of Florence, MA, Scott Abrutyn of Stow, MA and Heather Eckford Colthardt of Cleveland, TN.
A viewing will be held Sunday, Nov. 28 from 2-4 p.m. at Munson-Lovetere Funeral Home in Southbury, CT. The church is service Monday, Nov. 29, 10 a.m. at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Brookfield, CT followed by a social hour. A private burial will follow at Ferncliff Cemetery in NY. For directions or more information Click This Link
In Lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to the Arbor Day Foundation or the American Cancer Society. For the health and safety of attendees, we ask that everyone please wear a mask. (Provided at indoor venues if needed.)
To plant a tree in memory of Joan H. (Hildebrandt) Estey, please click here.