Surrounded by her loving family, 16 year-old Esther Grace Earl died Wednesday at Children’s Hospital in Boston after a four year battle with thyroid cancer. Diagnosed at age 12, Esther fought bravely and never lost her charm or humor. She leaves behind her dad and mom, Wayne and Lori, big sisters Abby and Evangeline, little brothers Graham and Abraham, two cats, a dog, all of Quincy
She is also survived by her grandparents, Ken and Peggy Krake of San Antonio, Texas and Wayne and Penny Earl of Hot Springs, South Dakato and a large extended family and friends all over the world.
Esther was a happy baby, and easy going child who learned to read early. She could speak in paragraphs by age two. She loved anything outdoors and grew up enjoying gymnastics and being a general daredevil whether riding a bike, twirling on monkey bars or climbing a tall tree. She was a completely devoted sister and, as the middle child, became the perfect bridge between her older sisters and younger bothers. Until age 10 or so, she was the primary guide for younger brother, Graham, a child with special needs, who, for many years relied almost entirely on Esther to interpret the world for him. Esther was born in Beverly, Massachusetts and spent her first four years in Haverhill. She then lived for three years in Saudi Arabia where she collected stray cats (much to her parents’ dismay), played with strange insects, attended an English-Arabic kindergarten, traveled through Europe and generally had a blast being a joyful little girl! She returned to Massachusetts where she lived until age 11. Her family then relocated to France where she learned to speak French, spending time exploring ancient, walled cities as well as the southern coast and Alps. Locals said she had a “perfect French accent!” It was there that she was first diagnosed and treated for cancer. At 13, she returned to Massachusetts to continue treatment at the Boston Children’s Hospital and Jimmy Fund clinic where she received superb care by an amazing team right up until the moment of her passing.
Esther read all the time and over the past year got to meet and spend time with her favorite author, John Green. She had eclectic tastes in everything from clothing to music, taught herself to play piano and loved playing all manner of card, board and computer games. She watched every episode of Lost and all of the past five years of Dr. Who. She liked the Syfy channel best but also enjoyed watching romantic movies. When she was a child, she announced that she was going to grow up and become a neurologist and medical doctor. She said she wanted to “cure diseases”. She would watch stories on TV and the computer about issues as diverse as helping the environment to understanding the brain. On the night before she died, she sent a link to her mom about developmental disorders. A typical evening might find her spending three hours talking with her dad about history, philosophy, religion or something else and she could easily spend hours doing creative activities, especially with her brothers, such as drawing, writing or performing online.
At age 14, she found a home on the internet with like-minded friends, called “Nerdfighters”, described by her grandmother as, “young, compassionate intellectuals”. Over the last two years she made many close friendships there creating an online presence as “crazycrayon”. She also developed a significant following recording quirky video blogs on her Youtube channel, “cookie4monster4”. She loved being creative and kept making art work and writing in a journal for most of her life. She contributed continuously to various web pages and spent considerable time texting, tweeting, talking online or by phone to friends all over the world. She was a joyful optimist, brought out the best in people and inspired literally thousands of people around the world as she continued to battle her cancer.
In her final months, she was visited by several out of state family members. She, and they, were deeply gladdened by these visits. Esther was recently featured in several local papers, including the Boston Globe, after helping to raise $250,000 for The Harry Potter Alliance. Earlier, she was granted a wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation and got to invite several dear friends to Boston over the Fourth of July weekend. She also had her sweet 16 birthday party a few weeks ago surrounded by friends and family. She believed in life after death and fully expected it to be the “next great adventure” (a quote from the Harry Potter books). She wasn’t worried at all about dying, talking openly about it. In the end, she welcomed her death, as she did her life, with open-armed exuberance. Her commitment was to loving and living well and to serving the least among us. In this, she excelled and led by example. She loved the acronym DFTBA (Don’t forget to be awesome). She will be more than deeply missed. The Star that once lit our hearts with love, life and laughter, now belongs to the heavens. Rest in Awesome, Esther.
Her funeral service will be held on Sunday August 29 in the Medway Village Church, Village Street Medway at 1:00 p.m. Burial will be in Oakland Cemetery Medway.
Calling hours will be on Saturday from 4-7 p.m. in the Ginley-Crowley Funeral Home 3 Barber St. in Medway.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to either of the following organizations: “Friends of Esther”, which will go to help Esther’s family with expenses related to her care. Write checks to “Friends of Esther” and send to: Friends of Esther Earl, 118 Billings Street, Quincy, MA 02171. Esther loved the vision of the non-profit, “Harry Potter Alliance,” an organization devoted to decreasing world suck. Give online here: www.thehpalliance.org or send gifts to them at: The HP Alliance, PO Box 441640, West Somerville MA 02144. By marking gifts as "for Esther" they will be used in a project honoring her. Thank you!