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Esther McKee


Esther A. McKee passed away peacefully on December 29, 2020 at the age of 95. Her daughter Laurel was with her and held her hand as she passed.

She was born on July 4, 1925 to Lillian and Gadiel Saima (in her grandparents’ farmhouse) in Green Valley Township, Becker County, Minnesota. She attended a one room schoolhouse until entering Park Rapids High School and graduated in the class of 1943.

That fall she moved to Seattle and was employed by the Boeing Company, supporting the war effort by working as a real “Rosie the Riveter.” She later worked for several years as a clerk in the Engineering Department.

Esther met Orville W. McKee at Boeing and they married in 1945. They were longtime residents of West Seattle and were together for 67 years until his passing in January 2012.

Esther was an avid reader. She also enjoyed crossword puzzles, cooking, sewing, growing dahlias and watching hummingbirds. She was the quiet calm at the center of her family who made her home feel welcoming and special. She loved her family, her Lutheran faith and her Finnish heritage.

Esther is survived by her children Linda (Jim) Tufts, Lila (Chuck) Moses, Tim McKee, Laurel (Rick) Berry and her grandchildren; Michael Tufts, Jessica Pitsch, Matt McKee, Rachael Garcia, Lillie Moses, their significant others and nine great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her siblings David Saima, Elma Weeks, Viola (Ron) Barklow, and Judy (Chris) Berry and many loved nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her brothers Donald Saima and Ralph Saima. In Lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Peace Lutheran Church, 8316 39th Ave. SW, Seattle WA 98136. A private service will be held at a later date.

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