It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Esther Clementine Woodhouse Hockin. She died peacefully in bed at her residence in Nanaimo, BC, in the early morning hours on March 4, 2019, at the grand age of 97. Esther was predeceased by her loving husband, Alan and her brother & sister-in-law David and Elaine Henry. Survived by her children; Jeremy (Pat), Gillian (Rob), Nicholas (Molly) and Jonathan (Natasha); grandchildren, Ben, Josh (Victoria), Jenny (Darcy), K-child, Stephanie (Daniel), Josh, Zoe, Lucy, Jojo and Maggie; and her great-grandchildren, Jackson, Liam, Emmaline and Annelise. Also survived by her only niece, Janice (Morten) and their children; daughter-in-law Nicola Bangham; cherished cousin, Jennifer Verrall, and lifelong friends Herb & Paula O’Driscoll and family.
Esther was born in Winnipeg, MB on January 18, 1922 to parents Howard and Josephine (nee Woodhouse) Henry. Her brother David was five years her elder. The family moved to Ottawa, where Howard served as private secretary to Prime Minister Mackenzie King for many years and then on the Exchequer Court of Canada.
Esther had a remarkable gift for singing and acting, . She performed as a soloist in concerts, musicals and church choirs for many years. She met Alan at the Orpheus Operatic Society’s rehearsal of The Yeomen of the Guard, the beginning of a wonderful relationship. They were married in Ottawa on December 27, 1952. Over the course of their sixty-two+ years together, they lived in Paris (France), Ottawa, Washington DC, Princeton NJ, Toronto, Nanoose Bay and Nanaimo, BC. Wherever they lived, Esther and Alan were known for their warmth, generosity, lively conversations and hospitality. Esther was devoted to her husband and family, and had a positive, upbeat spirit, a great sense of humour, a strong faith, and a natural sparkle and charm.
When they moved to Toronto in 1971, Esther joined the Alumnae Theatre and appeared in numerous plays, to rave reviews. A notable highlight was when author, Carol Shields sought Esther out backstage to commend her for her performance in Shields’ play, Thirteen Hands. Esther began acting in film and television at the tender age of sixty-one, loving every minute of it.
She was genuinely concerned for the welfare of others, cheerfully engaged in volunteer work, whether with the Cancer Society, Meals on Wheels, or teaching English to newly arrived immigrants in downtown Toronto. Esther will always be remembered as a character, who was intelligent, kind, thoughtful, talented, entertaining and witty. The name “Esther” means “star”, and she clearly was one to all who knew her. She will be greatly missed.
The family wishes to acknowledge and thank the caring staff at Origin/Astoria for their dedicated service and friendship to the elderly under their care.
A Memorial Service will be held at 1:00 pm on Saturday, April 20, 2019 at St. Anne and St. Edmund Anglican Church on 407 Wembley Road in Parksville, BC. In lieu of flowers, please consider honouring Esther's memory by making a donation in her name to St. Anne and St. Edmund Anglican Church.