James R. Esther

| 29 Dec 2022 | 01:57

The Rev. James R. Esther of West Milford passed away peacefully at his home Dec. 12, 2022. He was 81.

The Rev. Esther was born Sept. 23, 1941, in Buffalo, N.Y.

He was proud to begin his career at the First Reformed Church in Rochester, N.Y., where he and his wife, Alison, began their family. They made close friends with members of the congregation, who introduced them to what became their favorite place to spend their summers: Flanders Pond in Sullivan, Maine. The Rev. Esther always cherished his memories of fun times, meals together and epic Scrabble battles during years spent on Flanders Pond.

He then moved to the Second Reformed Church in New Brunswick, N.J., along with his beloved wife, Alison, and their children, John and Jeffrey, where he presided as minister for some 30 years.

During these years, he was instrumental in the compilation and publication of the denominational hymnal “Rejoice in the Lord” and was a liturgical consultant thereafter.

He was also involved in major church renewal endeavors, including contributing to the publication of G.B. Thompson Jr.’s “Treasures in Clay Jars: New Ways to Understand Your Church.”

A gifted artistic storyteller, his artistic portrayals of biblical stories adorn the walls of the Demarest Hall to this day.

After losing his wife, Alison, he moved to West Milford to be closer to his son John and his wife, Nicole. He became a congregant at the West Milford Presbyterian Church and enjoyed fellowship with its members for the past 15 years.

The Rev. Esther was predeceased by his parents and his wife, Alison. He is survived by his sisters, Joan, Mary and Barbara; his children, John and Jeffrey; and his grandson, James.

A memorial service will be held Jan. 21 at 1 p.m. at the West Milford Presbyterian Church, 1452 Union Valley Road.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that a donation be made to the Reformed Church in America or the West Milford Presbyterian Church.