Esther Wyatt, 63, passed away peacefully in her home on the morning of June 21, 2021, in Houston, Texas.
Esther was born on April 28, 1958, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Even though her father, Frank Murphy, passed away before she was born, her mother Burnette Chambers and maternal grandmother Bertha Huntley Chambers empowered her to be strong, independent, educated, and compassionate. As a child, she developed a passion for learning, teaching, and music which would stay with her for her entire life. Even at an early age, Esther was always questioning everything, everyone, and never settled for anything less than excellence. She was incredibly spiritual and knowledgeable regarding religion, having taught Sunday school for several years. Esther self-identified as a Messianic Jew and encouraged the celebration of both Jewish and Christian holidays in her household. She was an accomplished and classically-trained pianist, but chose to forego a professional career in music.
Esther excelled academically, attending Masterman School and graduating from the Philadelphia High School for Girls in 1976. She attended The University of Pennsylvania for two years with aspirations of becoming a cardiac surgeon and attended a summer program at Barnard College (one of the Seven Sisters and now known as Barnard College of Columbia University) before making the difficult decision to leave college to devote more time to care for her aging grandmother. She adored her grandmother’s strength and spirit, and never regretted the decision to be with her for those final years. And that love endured. Even years after her grandmother died, Esther graced the rest of the world by repeating her grandmother’s many mantras and stories: all you need is faith as small as a mustard seed and you can move mountains; life is too short to be sad; treat people the way you wish to be treated; and many, many more.
Esther worked for Bell of Pennsylvania (now Verizon Pennsylvania LLC) for many years before meeting Keith. A true love story, they met on a blind date arranged by a mutual friend from church in December 1985. Keith, who had moved to Houston a couple of years earlier, was in Philadelphia for the holidays. They exchanged letters and incurred large phone bills for all the long-distance calls. Esther and Keith were engaged in April 1986 and got married on September 20, 1986. Esther moved to Houston, Texas, and a year later they started a family.
Esther was a proud stay-at-home mother who was a true “Super Mom” in every sense of the phrase. She never once showed remorse for giving up her career and fully embraced making her children everything they could be. She loved being a mom and was an unrivaled force of nature. There was nothing that she could not do. Esther regularly volunteered at schools, provided tutoring services, taught art, led the CFISD Junior Achievement Program, started a USA Swimming Team (Team Yes! Aquatics of Houston), and achieved countless other feats. She was not a licensed attorney, but she could not have been a stronger advocate for her children. She fought against systemic racism in the schools, ensuring her children were in the right classes, at the right schools, and taught by the right teachers. She had the talent and foresight to not only do for her children, but to empower her children to eventually do for themselves. Throughout her life, she also helped many others navigate the school system and achieve success.
As an empty nester, her passion for learning, teaching, and music never dampened. She maintained a private piano studio for nearly 20 years, teaching both children and adults the fundamentals of piano. She had an amazing way of teaching music, incorporating history and theory, and helping her students build confidence in new and impactful ways. Esther never stopped learning, taking various art history courses over the years, watching many historical and scientific documentaries, and even considered going back to school to acquire her degree. She always stayed up to date on current events and was formidable at trivia, watching Jeopardy religiously and attaining Level A status in the LearnedLeague just a few months ago. Over the years, she developed a passion for genealogy. She traced her and Keith’s family bloodlines to the early 1800s and collected both prized and scandalous stories.
She had eclectic interests, ranging from the Olympics, video games, soap operas, bowling, singing and dance competitions, classical music, art, tea, The Food Network (Greek and Thai food), history, religion, politics, and HGTV (House Hunters). She loved to laugh, people watch, engage in interesting conversation, and cherished holidays with her husband and children. She absolutely adored being “Mimi” to her granddaughter, Elizabeth. She was looking forward to retirement, building a new home, traveling the country and the world, learning Spanish and German, uncovering the mysteries of her family ancestry, and enjoying her senior stage in life. Her life was a gift that we will always cherish. The impact, wisdom, and kindness she showed towards her family, friends, and even strangers will continue to live on forever.
She is survived by her husband of 34 years Keith Orlando Edward Wyatt (Houston, TX); her daughter Melissa Jeanine Ackie and son-in-law Kwabena Adabanka Ackie (Austin, TX), her son Michael Edward Wyatt and soon-to-be daughter-in-law Stefanie Jäger (Bad Grönenbach, Germany); her beloved granddaughter Elizabeth Fosuaa Ackie (Austin, TX); and numerous extended family and friends.
We will be hosting a Celebration of Esther’s life on Saturday, July 31, 2021, from one until four o’clock in the afternoon at Bradshaw-Carter Memorial & Funeral Services, 1734 W. Alabama Street, Houston, Texas 77098. The celebration will include a service followed by a catered reception. For those that cannot attend in person, the service will also be livestreamed (www.bradshawcarter.com).
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Esther’s memory be given to Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation (https://www.mhopus.org/).