Esther Mary Harrison. (1924 – 2014).
Esther Mary Harrison, late of Abbotsford, BC passed away peacefully to Heaven surrounded by her family on December 26, 2013 at the age of 89. Predeceased by her husband E.W. (Bill) Harrison. She will be remembered fondly and missed deeply by her children, Bob (Karen) of Mississippi, daughter Debbie and son-in-law Jeff Paul of Aldergrove. Grandchildren Billy, Ken and Ricky, five great-grandchildren and sisters Shirley and Jean. Born in Indian Head, Saskatchewan on December 2, 1924, Esther made her way to BC in 1939 and began working soon afterward for B.C. Tel in Vancouver. Esther was promoted to become the youngest person to operate overseas calls out of Vancouver at the time. Following her city days Esther moved to the town of Quesnel. Esther grew to understand and love the business world operating a logging company, bus service and a boarding house over time. Esther is best known however as a Hotelier. Owning and operating small hotels in Smithers, and Abbotsford, BC for over 30 years. In 1957 Esther met her dear husband Bill Harrison and was married in 1959. Esther and Bill purchased a small hotel in Smithers, BC which they ran for a number of years selling it to move to Abbotsford. In 1964 they purchased “The Atangard Hotel” on the corner of Essendene Avenue and West Railway. Within a year they had completely renovated the building and renamed the hotel “The Fraser Valley Inn”. Selling the “FVI” in 1972 semi-retirement was in Esther’s future for a few years. During this time she enjoyed life on the farm on McCallum Road and learned to oil paint. Esther became a very accomplished artist mastering beautiful landscapes, floral paintings and wildlife. Esther was also active as an Eastern Star member and many community functions throughout the years. Being on her own again in 1977, Esther headed back into the hotel business. An accomplished businesswoman she purchased the “Park Hotel” on Pauline Street in Abbotsford. Esther became the first woman to own and manage her own hotel in British Columbia! Esther ran the (Kee Hotel) Park Inn as it was later named, for 16 years. Over the many years substantial renovations were done on the hotel, incorporating the “Mardi Gras” in the pub, a beautiful restaurant and her final addition was the Cold Beer & Wine Store in 1990. Esther sold the Park Inn and retired in 1991, after which she could be found regularly on Friday afternoons carving Baron of Beef at her daughter Debbie and son-in-law Jeff’s pubs in Chilliwack and Aldergrove. Esther was a mentor to many people who worked for her, always working hard to make her premises a place you could feel welcome and comfortable and a tribute to the town she chose as home. Her hair always beautiful and her high heels on, life revolved around her family and her business, Esther will be deeply missed by many but lives on in many well told “Esther Stories”. A Celebration of Life will be held on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 11:00 am at Henderson’s Funeral Home, 34537 Marshall Road, Abbotsford, BC followed by a reception at the same location.