Ester Perrier Seguiti, 1943-2018
Originally appeared in The Press of Atlantic City, Atlantic City, N.J., August 3, 2018
Ester Perrier Seguiti, friend and nurturer to many and a vibrant “jill of all trades,” died June 26, 2018 of a sudden heart attack while working in her garden in Andover, Vt. She was 74.
Throughout her life, Ester repeated that she didn’t know what she wanted to be when she grew up. Thus, she never retired, and she reinvented herself many times. She worked as a mainframe computer engineer, a caterer, a computer systems consultant, a master gardener and horticulturist, and a realtor. At 72, she enrolled in an environmental stewardship program at Rutgers University.
One of the threads running through all of Ester’s careers and interests was a deep-seated need to solve challenging problems. “She was a fixer,” said her daughter, Eva. “She would be personally invested in helping you find a solution, whether it was to a technical computer problem, finding a house, or a personal issue. We’d say ‘Mom, sometimes you gotta stop,’ but it just wasn’t in her DNA.”
A gifted gardener, Ester was happiest with dirt underneath her fingernails. She had a soft spot for animals, opening her home to any type of fur, rescuing many through the years.
Born Estermarie Perrier on September 18, 1943, in Pittsburgh, Pa, she was the daughter of Noe and Elisabeth (Meacci) Perrier. She grew up in Pittsburgh, and later described her childhood self as a quiet, shy, and skinny. Because she couldn’t say Estermarie as a child, she called herself “Wee” and this is what she was later called as grandmother, as per her wishes.
After losing both her parents at a young age, Ester paid her own way through college, receiving degrees in both math and music from Carlow College in Pittsburgh, Pa. On a blind date, she met Adrian Seguiti, a handsome and engaging New Yorker. George Perinis, who introduced the couple and was a lifelong friend, describes Ester as brilliant and soft-spoken but intense and says she was smitten with Adrian immediately. After meeting Adrian, Ester relocated to New York for “work.” Adrian was a bit uneasy with the move at first but eventually became as crazy about Ester as she was for him. The two married in 1970.
In 1974 the couple moved to Valley Forge, Pa., where they lived for the next thirty-nine years and raised their children, Stephen and Eva.
“Ester did not suffer fools gladly,” says Perinis. In the mid-seventies, she’d picked up some computer clients, who would call her at all hours, saying their computers didn’t work. “She would go in and look down and invariably they forgot to plug it in,” he said. “She’d say ‘See this, watch me,’ and plug it in. ‘That’ll be $75.’ ”
“I always admired how fearless she was in tackling subjects,” said Heather Perinis, Ester’s friend for more than thirty years. “And she’d be the first one in the community to reach out to someone in trouble.”
As an enthusiast of good food, wine, and company, Ester enjoyed cooking and entertaining, often quoting Julia Child, saying you can fix everything with whipping cream and parsley. She will be remembered for her Italian cooking, especially her big pasta parties and her holiday dinners. “She was always joining people together over food, inviting Thanksgiving orphans to join the family,” said Eva. “She went out of her way to make you feel welcome.”
In 2005, Ester and Adrian bought an ocean front home in Brigantine, N.J. Ester was a successful real estate agent in and around the Brigantine area. She was active with several organizations, including volunteering for AARP, helping seniors prepare their annual tax returns, and for the Brigantine Green Team, a local sustainability initiative.
Jill Morrison, a good friend of Ester’s in Brigantine, says Ester helped those she loved live their best possible lives. Ester was a cheerleader for her and helped her promote her business making mosaics out of old jewelry. “She brought your eye to something you maybe didn’t see, even in yourself,” said Morrison.
Ester tirelessly supported Adrian through his three-year battle with pancreatic cancer, caring for him until the end. Following Adrian’s death in 2016, Ester moved part-time to Andover, Vt., to live with her son and to pursue her favorite hobbies. She also loved traveling to see her twin granddaughters in Iowa.
Though she felt torn between her worlds at the ocean in New Jersey and in the mountains of Vermont, Ester was happy with her new life on the 25-acre property she shared with Stephen in Andover and had recently acquired two ducks and six chickens. Days before her death, Ester said she’d had an epiphany while hauling “chicken shit.” “You know,” she said. “I think I have found my true calling. I think I was born to be a farmer.”
Stephen takes comfort knowing Ester was doing what she loved when she died. “She was always working to make things better for herself and for everyone else,” he says. “Whether it was her garden, her house, working on someone’s problems, she was never finished.”
Ester is survived by her son, Stephen Seguiti of Andover, Vt.; daughter, Eva (Jonathan) Rosenbloom of Des Moines, Iowa; eight year old twin granddaughters, Simone and Lidia Rosenbloom; her sister, Jeanne Perrier of Glenshaw, Pa., her two cats, Sophia and Harley; and countless friends from all over the country.
Ester’s family will hold a memorial and celebration of Ester’s favorite things in life in the late fall in Brigantine.
As a tribute to her environmental conservation efforts, memorial contributions may be made in her name to the following charities to preserve the beauty of the two places she loved the most: the ocean and the mountains.
• Clean Ocean Action <www.cleanoceanaction.org/index.php?id=334>
•Vermont Species and Habitat Conservation Fund/ Habitat Stamp <www.vtfishandwildlife.com/habitatstamp.html>
• Nongame Wildlife Fund <www.vtfishandwildlife.com/nongamefund.html>