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Obituary: Esther Ada Nicholson

October 29, 1928—September 5, 2019

Esther Ada Johnson was born October 29, 1928 in Havensville, Kansas to Paula and Harold Johnson. She lived her youth in Kansas while her mother owned a women’s clothing store. Esther learned her classy style from her mother. They moved to Wyoming where she graduated Rocks Springs High School in 1945.

Esther and Paula moved to Twin Falls, Idaho in 1946 after her mother married Faren Faler. Esther met and later married James Allred on April 8, 1948. She studied cosmetology and loved cutting and styling hair. She was creative! James and Esther moved to Layton, Utah attending school. Esther attended college for two years and in 1950 they had their first son, Paul. Esther told the story with a snicker “James rushed from his graduation ceremony in cap and gown to the hospital .. barely made it!” Demonstrating her independence, strength and her renowned sense of humor she laughed.

James enlisted in the Army and they began their military life together traveling the US and Europe. James pursued his love of flying. Esther loved new places and new friends. She met other military wives and families making many lifelong friends. They were stationed in California, where Jamie was born, Idaho where Jeff was born, Kansas where David was born, and Oklahoma, Texas, Michigan and Alabama. James and Esther moved their family to Idaho in 1953 while James served in Korea.

Esther moved all four children to Germany by herself while pregnant with Jole. She loved living in Germany and practicing her beloved German language. Their family traveled in their VW camper bus over Europe, even to the Italian Adriatic and the Mediterranean Seas. She cherished her memories of Paris with her girlfriends.

James received orders to fly helicopters in Vietnam. Again the family moved back to Idaho. On December 14, 1963 he was killed when his helicopter was shot down. The family was devastated. Esther was alone with 5 children under the age of 13. She was only 36. Esther pulled the family together again. She became a Milner designing and creating women’s hats! She found her niche as an interior designing consultant helping others.

During this time, she joined and began performing in the local Dilettante musical productions in Twin Falls where her friends introduced her to Nick Nicholson. Nick was swept off his feet and they fell for each other. They were married on December 27,1965, quite a brave man to marry a 38 year old widow with 5 children. Nick still says she was the best thing that ever happened to him. She was a catch! They were married over 50 years and always found humor and a deep love for each other. They needed humor raising five kids!

Nick went to college graduating with a Masters in Speech from ISU. Esther stayed in Twin Falls to support the family working as a medical records specialists and continued to raise their 5 children.

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During the summer of 1970 they started a float trip business on “Middle Fork of the Salmon River”. They named their family business “Nicholson and Sons” but actually, everyone in the family worked on the business. Esther was an integral part of the business working tirelessly booking trips 12 months a year. She took care of business while Dad and the boys were on the river. The girls helped their mom buying food, packing for the trips, driving shuttle and helping on trips. Esther was the glue that held it together.

Once retired they moved to McCall. She wanted to be closer to her family. They built her studio where she taught her grandchildren to draw and paint. Esther was an artist. Her studio in the meadow was great inspiration for her. She painted and drew watching birds, fox and deer. She instilled the importance of art and nature in all of us!

She loved helping people; volunteering at Magic Valley Memorial Hospital, McCall Memorial Hospital and at Twin Falls and McCall Elementary schools helping students develop their reading skills.

Esther was loved and will be greatly missed by her family and friends.

Her gracious loving smile will always be remembered.

Esther leaves behind many family members: husband, Nick Nicholson, children: Paul Allred (Sharon, Ely), Jamie Olavarria (Andy, Alec, Claire), Jeff Allred (Cindy, Dylan, Arlee), David Allred, deceased, (Lisa, Elizabeth) and Jole Voulelis (Jim, Nick, Max). Sister-in-law, Miriam Allred Smith, niece, Jill Allred and family, nephew, Jackson Allred and family.

Esther’s Life Celebration will be held at Woodbine Club House, 3601 S. Gekeler Lane at 2 p.m. Sunday, September 15, 2019. Her ashes will be spread with her husband’s at a later time.

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