Esther Martha Rasmussen passed away peacefully surrounded by her loving family May 12, 2017, at the age of 92.
Esther was born in 1924 to John J. Siegrist and Elizabeth Parker Siegrist in Erdenheim, Pennsylvania. She worked for Vicks Cough Drop Company when she met future husband Oliver during a vacation in New Jersey in 1944. After a short courtship, the two were engaged and thus began Esther’s adventures as a naval wife and mother, much of which was chronicled in a biography entitled “Chippewa Chief in WWII: The story of Oliver B. Rasmussen” written by author and fellow navy man Don Norton.

Following the war, Esther’s growing family moved to Hayward, California. In 1979, Oliver retired and they relocated to Arnold. After Oliver’s death, Esther became an avid world traveler (she’d visited over 50 countries) and was active in many volunteer organizations, including the Ebbetts Pass Republicans. She was a fantastic cook and enjoyed entertaining in the home she designed and built. Esther very much loved the mountains and hiked among them daily. She lived in Calaveras County for over 25 years.

In 2004, Esther moved to Escondido. She lived next door to her granddaughter, Debbie, and her great-grandchildren, whom she absolutely adored.

She is survived by her daughters Geraldine Griffith and Marjorie Ortega; son, Chris Rasmussen; granddaughter, Debbie Ortega; great-grandchildren Kellen and Chloe Ortega; and extended family Elaine Rasmussen and Roy Ortega and Sergio Quinones.

Esther is predeceased by her husband, Oliver Bullard Rasmussen; daughter, Sue Rasmussen; and son, Jimmy Rasmussen.

A celebration of life will be held in honor of Esther M. Rasmussen from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, at Independence Hall Community Center, 1445 Blagen Road, Arnold, California. In lieu of flowers, please bring your fondest memories of Esther and a dessert in honor of her love of sweets. Light hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Memorials in her honor may be sent to The National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR), or an organization of your choice that is dedicated to improving quality of life for the aging.
Esther’s family and friends will miss her sense of humor, her intelligent, passionate conversations, her generous nature and her wily Scrabble playing ability.

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