Parish Choir missing longtime voice: Middletown woman died surrounded by her 6 children

Esther Greenwell, a strong supporter of the Catholic community, died May 12. She was 85.

MIDDLETOWN — The Parish Choir is missing a longtime voice and the Catholic community has lost one of its biggest supporters.

Esther Greenwell sang with the Bereavement Choir for 40 years and with the Holy Trinity Choir for 25 years. Greenwell, who also worked in the Fenwick High School Library and volunteered at Middletown Regional Hospital for 15 years, died May 12 surrounded by her six children in her Middletown home. She was 85.

Mary Beth Hargrove, 63, the oldest of her children, said her mother’s “final wish” was to have her family at her side when she died. Her children told her “it’s OK to go” and she died two days later.

“She lived a full and beautiful life,” Hargrove said.

Esther and James Greenwell, Jr. were married for nearly 59 years before his death in 2016. He worked at Armco and that allowed his wife to be a stay-at-home mother and care for their six children they had in an eight-year span.

“She always said that was the greatest gift Dad ever gave her,” said Hargrove, who described her mother as the family’s disciplinarian. “They had a great partnership.”

Greenwell, the youngest of 12 children, was all about her family, her daughter said. She loved hosting gatherings. When Father John Civille came to Middletown about 30 years, the Greenwells held a party for him in the home on Sheldon Road. Fittingly, Civille will be the celebrant at her Mass of Christian burial.

Work took the Greenwells to Detroit, Louisville and Nashville. After they had three children in Louisville and three in Nashville, she told her husband they better move back to Middletown, Hargrove said with a laugh.

She always wanted to have a baby with brown eyes and after five were born with blue eyes, Matt, the youngest, was born with brown eyes.

Greenwell is survived by her sister, Helen (Earl); six children, Mary Beth (Lee) Hargrove, Middletown; James (Melissa), Austin, Texas; Teresa Tzangas, Columbus; Richard (Colleen), Sarasota, Fla.; Steve (Anessa), Middletown; Matthew (Wendy), Morrow; 11 grandchildren, two step grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 4-6 p.m. Sunday at Wilson-Schramm-Spaulding Funeral Home, 3805 Roosevelt Blvd., Middletown. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at Holy Family Parish-Holy Trinity Church, 201 Clark St., Middletown, with Father John Civille as celebrant. Interment will be at Woodside Cemetery.

About the Author