JEFFERSON-Esther Pennington always puts the well being of others before herself. At age 60, many people begin eyeing retirement, but Pennington’s work ethic wouldn’t allow it.
After a tiring night shift at Southern Devices – now known as United ChemiCon – Pennington would spend the following morning taking care of her aging sister before working the afternoon canning vegetables and returning to work at night.
“She’s a very loving lady and always cared for everybody,” her son, Walter Pennington, said recently during a telephone interview with the Post. “She looked after all of her brothers and sisters before they passed away, too.”
Even at the ripe age of 106, Pennington’s eager to return to work.
During a birthday celebration at Margate in Jefferson on June 25, the Pennington family was reminded of her work ethic.
“She said, ‘There is nothing wrong with my hands. I can go back to work,’” her son recalled.
Esther, by her own right, represents the quintessential hardworking Ashe County lifestyle. She grew up in the Clifton community and attended church her entire life although she wasn’t formally baptized in the New River until the age of 98 when she pulled up her dress and made an intrepid stride into those murky brown waters.
And she took care of her family when others could not. When her husband unexpectedly passed away, she continued a litany of jobs to provide for the household.
Despite a never ending schedule that allows almost no time for a respite, Pennington also helps out her fellow man whenever possible.
Although her memory might not be as sharp as it once was, Pennington’s recollection of West Jefferson’s formative years might surprise visitors to Jefferson Avenue.
“Ashe County was all dirt roads and West Jefferson was just a mud street,” Pennington remembers his mother once telling him. “All the mail was delivered on horse back. And the doctors made house calls…It was a different time.”
Reach Jesse Campbell at 336-846-7164.