A pillar of the old Riverdale community, Esther was born in Arkansas City, Kansas in 1922 to Emmett and Edna Lyon Thatcher. Fate would soon deprive Esther of her father, who passed away when she was 3-years-old. Edna, who harkened from the Grand Cayman Islands in the British West Indies, would return with Esther and her sister Anna to care for family. However, the close family of three would find roots in Mobile, Alabama and would often travel to Grand Cayman Island while growing up.
Esther would graduate from Murphy High School in Mobile and work in the office of Brookley Airfield shortly before the outbreak of World War II, when a love of country and a call to duty brought her into the United States Navy. Naval training would take Esther to Imperial Beach, California. Entrusted with this nation’s highest secrets during the war, Esther served as a cryptologist for the navy receiving and writing code while stationed at Bainbridge Island.
It was in the Navy that Esther would meet her late husband of 43 years, Jorma Kaivo. At the end of the war in 1945, the two would return to Jorma’s hometown of Raymond, Wash. in 1945, where they would marry. It was here, that the two would build a home and raise two children, Ken and Charlene. During her years, Esther enjoyed many things, including gardening and where it could often be said she never met a plant she did not like. Apart from days spent potting plants, Esther enjoyed spending time with family, visiting with neighbors, being active in church, painting, and reading. For many growing up in the old Riverdale community, there were not many lives she did not touch. Many will miss her.
Preceding her in death were her husband, Jorma, and sister, Anna, who lived in Mobile, Alabama. Esther is survived by her son, Ken, and his wife, Luva, of Montesano, daughter, Charlene Needham, and her husband, Dan Needham of Raymond; six grandchildren Kami Kaivo, Becca (Kaivo) Zvono, Jakob Kaivo, Josh Kaivo, and Nathan Needham, Justin Needham, and six great-grand-children Emma, Carly, Maddi, Kylie, Sam and Spencer
A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. Thursday, June 6, at the First Baptist Church, 913 Duryea St. in Raymond.
Memorial donations in memory of Esther may be made to HAVA, P.O. Box 243, Raymond, WA 98577.
Arrangements are in care of Stoller’s Mortuary in Raymond