Esther Monk, 90

Volunteer extraordinaire

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Esther Grace Monk, 90, a 20-year resident of Oak Park and a former longtime resident of Chicago, died on Nov. 20, 2017 at Chicago's Bethesda Home. Born in Chicago in 1927 to the late Louis and Grace Smith, she was raised there and married James D. Monk in 1946 (he died in 1959). 

While raising her family, Esther worked in data processing and accounting for several businesses in the Chicago area, and she was a dedicated volunteer for many organizations there and in Oak Park. For years she served as a foster grandparent at Hephzibah Children's Home and as a classroom assistant and "picture lady" at Whittier School where she was known by all as "Grandma Monk." 

She was also an active member with First United Methodist Church of Oak Park, where she taught Sunday school teacher and was the founding chief cook of dinners for the PADS program. She served as treasurer on the condo board at 151 N. Kenilworth, was a Girl Scout leader, a volunteer for Little Brothers of the Poor, a pen pal to disabled people, an artist who painted dozens of lovely Easter eggs for the mentally ill and others, and loved to travel the world.

Esther Monk was the mother of Elizabeth (Jayne Doyle), James L. (Joyce), Wilfred G. (Judy), and the late Robert Monk; the grandmother of Eliza, Georgia, Sarah, Steven, Lance, and Billie Jane; great-grandmother of Piper, Finn, Griffen and Madeleine; sister of Myra Stiernberg and Ruth Kovacs; and the aunt of many. 

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16, in the chapel of the Bethesda Home, 2833 N. Nordica Ave. in Chicago. 

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you donate to your favorite charitable organization in her name. Arrangements were handled by Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral home, or 708-383-3191.

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Katherine Kampf  

Posted: November 29th, 2017 5:22 PM

Esther was fun, funny and generous. She was simultaneously a reverent church-lady and an irreverent, unconventional, independent woman. It was a pleasure to know her; talk about art history with her; eat her potatoes; hear her gravelly laugh; and observe her soft-shoe routine! Goodbye Esther, pick the companion who most appreciates you Upstairs.

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