Esther E. (Cockman) Hart, 96, of Windsor, formerly of Des Moines, IA, beloved wife of David W. Hart and mother of Brenda Kelley, passed away peacefully on Wednesday (April 18, 2012) with her daughter and son-in-law by her side.
Born and raised in Moore County, NC, daughter of the late Charlie and Sallie (Jessup) Cockman, she lived in New York City, NY, Albia, IA, and Des Moines, IA for many years, moving to Connecticut 16 years ago where she lived at Village Gate in Farmington, CT and most recently at Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation Center in Windsor.
Esther had a challenging, interesting, and long life. As a young girl, she worked alongside her family in the textile mills in North Carolina. She acquired a love of music from her parents, was an amazing piano player, and could play almost anything simply by hearing the tune. She loved God and children leading the Young Missionary's youth group and teaching Sunday school in Albia, Iowa.
She was a caring daughter, sibling, wife, and mother but also a very strong, independent woman. While her husband and brother-in-law were serving in the South Pacific in World War II, she lived with her sister in New York City and worked as a carver in the Horn and Hardart Automat. She supported the work of her husband, a Vice President in the United Packinghouse Workers of America and the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workers of America (currently, United Food and Commercial Workers), as his wife and homemaker, traveling with him, standing beside him on picket lines, and meeting some of the influential labor and civil rights leaders of our time.
She is survived by her daughter, Brenda and her husband Thomas Kelley of Windsor; two grandchildren, Christine McGavran and her wife Tami Fisher of Pacifica, CA and David McGavran and his wife, Miriam Gschwendt of La Jolla, CA ; four great grandchildren, Amelia & Eloise Fisher and Aaron and Shana Gschwendt; a nephew, Al Hart and his wife Merron of Ankeny, IA; great nephew, Cory Hart; and three nieces and their families in North Carolina, Edna Lou Cockman Dawkins, Linda Gail Cockman Terry, and Annette Coates; and a nephew, Jack Cockman and his family in Indiana. She was predeceased by three brothers, Charlie, James, and Robert Cockman; three sisters, Lee Ross, Lu Hart, and Julie Cockman; and two nephews, Mitchell and Harold Cockman.
Esther's daughter and son-in-law thank the staff of Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation in Windsor for their excellent, loving care of our Mom.
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, April 28, 11 a.m., at the Asylum Hill Congregational Church, 814 Asylum Ave., Hartford. Her family will receive friends following the service at the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to ServCorps c/o Asylum Hill Congregational Church, 814 Asylum Ave, Hartford, CT 06105 or NCAAA/Money Follows the Person, 151 New Park Avenue, Box 75, Hartford, CT 06106.