Esther Maxwell
Dec. 31, 1919 – Jan. 9, 2019

Esther left this earth one week and two days after celebrating her 99th birthday with family and friends. Esther was born in Hollister, California to John and Margaret Dowdy and lived there until moving to San Jose to go to Business School at the age of 18, where she graduated as a bookkeeper and stenographer. She was later employed by King City Grain (King City, California) and as a secretary for a Monterey County Supervisor. She met Guy Maxwell on a blind date when they both worked in San Jose, and they married in 1940.

Esther was a mother, friend, homemaker and owned Maxwell’s Toggery (men’s clothing store) with her husband Guy in Rio Dell, until their retirement in 1984.

She lived in their family home until September 2015, when she moved closer to her son and daughter in law where she lived independently for the next few year, even moments before she passed. She had lunch, cleaned up, sat down in her chair and peacefully passed on.

She is predeceased by her husband of 50 years, Guy Maxwell, her sister Irma Jessen, brother Everett Dowdy, niece Lyn Nava and her parents. Survivors include her son John (wife Marsha) of Fortuna, daughter Joan of Colorado, great nieces, Jamie, Tammy, Cristi and great nephew Shannon.

Esther loved her family, her friends, cooking and baking. Her meals were not only tasty but beautifully created. She especially loved her cats and dogs throughout the years. From the small terriers she had as a child on her parents’ farm, to all the dogs and cats that came later in her life. They either just showed up, or magically appeared with the help of one of her kids.

She had many friends, probably more than she knew. She will be missed and remembered by many. Special thanks to Julie Manzi, Lorna Miller, Judy Ingraham, Clarice Cole, Monica Rivera, Martha Baratti, all of whom visited often and kept her entertained.

Esther’s wishes were to have no services. In lieu of donations or flowers, she would want everyone to take each other out to lunch and have a good conversation. It was her greatest joy to have her friends come to visit her, so she would wish the same for them.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Esther Maxwell’s family. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.