Esther R. Schiveley, 10/12/17-10/14/07

Me and my grandma

Grandma and I, Mother’s Day 2006.

Editor’s note. The following is the obituary I wrote for my grandma, who died Sunday, October 14, 2007, two days after her 90th birthday.

Esther Schiveley

Esther Rodriguez Schiveley passed away Sunday, October 14, 2007 at Windsor Gardens Rehabilitation Center of Salinas. She was surrounded by more than 50 family members and friends. Moments after minister Tom Salas read the 46th Psalm, she drew her last breath and went home to be with the Lord. She celebrated her 90th birthday just two days earlier.
She was born Oct.12, 1917 in El Monte, Calif., to Jesús and Ramona Rodriguez. Her father passed away when she was a small child.

Several years later, Esther moved with her family to the Central Valley, where they worked harvesting the cotton fields. On a typically warm day, a young man tilling the fields on a tractor spotted Esther, who was quite the looker as a young lady. Smart man that Esther’s future husband was, he hopped off his tractor and helped carry her cotton sack. Jay Schiveley married Esther Rodriguez in 1938, and spent the first years of their marriage in the Central Valley, where they had fallen in love.

Jay and Esther moved to Castroville with their first child, Alfred, in 1941. Two years later, they settled in the farming community of Boronda and raised their six children. Esther, her mother and sisters Mercy, Margarita and Consuelo were among the founding members of the First Apostolic Church of Salinas. The church began as a home Bible study work on Boronda Road and on Christmas Day, 1941, Esther was baptized in the name of Jesus. Jay was baptized earlier in the year, when he accompanied his pastor, Juan Amaya, to a church convention in Los Angeles. This began a commitment to the church for Esther, and to the God whom she served all her days. The First Apostolic Church of Salinas moved to 1104 Fontes Lane in 1949, where it remains.

Jay and Esther purchased their family home in 1953, across the street from the Boronda Adobe and the rolling fields of the Salinas Valley. Jay passed away in 1968. Esther leaned on her children for love and support at this time. She often said that it was after the death of her husband that she developed her love of reading and writing as well as learned how to pay the bills and live as an independent woman.

She transformed from a quiet homemaker to a 4-foot, 11-inch pistol of a woman who was an unashamed soldier of the Lord. Jesus was the best thing that had ever happened to her and she wanted everyone to know him.

Esther had a unique relationship with each of her children and loved them for who they were. She would love to see her grandchildren, and she would visit them frequently. Esther had a way of making her presence known when she entered a room. Her two standard greetings were “Praise the Lord!” and “I’m here!” And who could forget the right index finger? From relatives, to church parking attendants to presidents, no one could escape the pointing and lecturing.

Esther took great delight in her family. Her home was a gallery of photographs of her sons, daughters and grandchildren. Some of her happiest days were at Christmas and Thanksgiving, where she would enjoy watching her grandchildren race around the floor and unwrap their gifts. Even in a loud, talkative family like the Schiveleys, Esther made her presence known. Esther also enjoyed camping, and would always smile when she recalled trips to Arroyo Seco, Big Sur or to the Santa Cruz mountains. She never seemed too busy to have a cup of coffee — Taster’s Choice, of course — and visit with whomever would spend time with her.

Anyone who had the privilege of coming to her home in the morning knew the joy of having a plate of eggs, beans, bacon and a hot tortilla. She had a healthy appetite and especially loved breakfast.

Gardening was a passion of Esther’s and the front of her apartment would be filled with pots of red and pink geraniums, as well as an assortment of shrubs and trees.

Esther came from hardier stock than most people. She was still driving at the age of 89. Recently, when she left her home to enter residential care, she piloted her electric wheelchair to the car. Esther fought the good fight as a woman of God until the end. She will be missed by all who knew her, and can only hope to follow her example.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Jay Schiveley; her son Alfred Schiveley; brother, Eusebio Lopez; and sisters, Mercedes Perez, and Jessie Cabrera.

Survivors: Sons, James (Katy) Schiveley, David (Julie) Schiveley, Paul (Rosalie) Schiveley, all of Salinas; daughters, Dianna (Richard) McCormack of Salinas, and Martha (Phillip) Prendez of San Jose; 23 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren; sisters, Margarita Valdez, and Consuelo Macias.

Visitation: 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, at Healey Mortuary, 405 N. Sanborn Rd., Salinas.

Funeral services: 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 19, Apostolic Praise Temple, 1104 Fontes Lane, Salinas.

Burial: Garden of Memories, Salinas.

Memorials: Monterey County SPCA.

Arrangements: Healey Mortuary.

Information: (831) 424-1848,



Filed under family, Grandma, Salinas

10 responses to “Esther R. Schiveley, 10/12/17-10/14/07

  1. writinggb

    I am so sorry for your loss. Grandmothers give us a kind of love that we just can’t get anywhere else. Their passing leaves a real hole in our lives.

    I liked your obituary — it seemed to capture her unique personality for those who didn’t know her. You should think about writing more about her life. I’ve been working on my grandma’s memoir for a few years, and it’s been a great project.

    I wish you and your family peace and comfort in this time of sorrow.

  2. Thank you so much, writinggb. I’m sitting here with my wife reflecting on my grandma’s life. We’re furiously scanning photos and preparing a multimedia presentation on our Mac for Friday’s service. It’s so hard to encapsulate 90 years of life into one presentation. I loved her dearly.

  3. I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother’s passing. From reading your obituary she had a full, happy, God-fearing life, and I know she’ll be sorely missed. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Miss Chantell: The tears are still flowing, but well wishes and prayers from the multitude of people who have expressed their sympathies has been like a balm of Gilead for my family and me.

    This is truly the end of an era. A warrior of God is now at rest.

  5. katemeister

    I’m sorry, Jay. God be with you and your family — and, thankfully, your grandmother, too — at this time.
    My beloved grandma turns 90 in February, and I’m so terrified at the thought that her remaining days must be so few (though she’s in great health). And I get to see her so rarely.

    Grandmas are indeed special.

    Thinking of you —


  6. Denise

    thanks for the elegantly written obituary. it did indeed bring a tear to my eye just as it did at the service. everytime i eat the famous Esther breakfast — especially with that Taster’s choice i will never forget her. she was such a darling. i will never be able to drink any Taster’s choice the same again — and especially as it chases the beans, eggs, and tortillas down. yeah i know the meal well. it was made with so much love.

  7. Jay

    Thank you, Kate. It was a beautiful funeral. We put together a multimedia presentation of her life, Amelia performed “How Great Thou Art” and “Peace In the Valley,” and I gave her eulogy after the opening prayer. My uncle played “Amazing Grace” on his sax and segued into “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Anyone who knew my grandmother would agree that it was completely appropriate. She would have clapped her hands right along with us if it were possible.

    Cherish any contact you have with your grandmother. You will certainly feel the weight of their departure. I’m still grappling with it myself. Thanks for the thoughtful words. You’re the best, Kate.

  8. Jay

    Denise: I’m so sorry I didn’t make it over to say hi to you. There were a mob of people over there yesterday. I’m sure Grandma would have liked all the attention! I’m so glad you and your mom made it. I took some really nice pictures of your mom with my aunt Martha and my mom. I’ll be sure to forward them to you as soon as I unpack all of my stuff. If you saw any other photos you liked from the multimedia presentation, let me know and I can send them to you.

  9. Denise

    all was beautiful. i emailed most of my pictures i took to your mom. i know my mom truly enjoyed herself. i tried to get pictures of cousins — what a task. 😉 somehow i believe we needed a larger room but your grandma would have loved it. it would have been nice to have seen my uncle, but you can’t ask for everything i guess. i am going to be back in Salinas November 12 (planned trip this time). by the way i am a chocoholic and i was so tempted to get 3 of all the chocolate items on the table. i have been trying to be better about my weight. going to the gym and all. i am thinking about having a party here at my house in san leandro for my mom’s birthday in january but i will let your mom and uncle jim know more as i decide more.

  10. Aaron Jay

    This topic has been floating in my mind for a while now. At first, I wanted to focus on how people can express their grief when they have experienced the loss of a loved one. However, I realized expressing grief is not always the emotion a person is trying to release. When you think of the person who has passed on, you shouldn’t simply dwell on the present situation, but express and reminisce about the fond times you’ve had together as well.

    Now you can create an online memorial to do just that:

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