Essie Mae [Jordan] McCarther passed away peacefully on July 12, 2018. Essie was born June 26, 1936 in Seaboard, North Carolina to Richard Boose and Elnora Jordan with a midwife in attendance. Richard moved Elnora and Essie to New York. Richard and Elnora did not remain together. Essie was 16 years old when her mother suddenly passed away from heart disease in 1952. Essie then moved in with her uncle (Richard’s brother).
Essie graduated from Julia Richman High School in 1953. Her cousin Jeanette Jordan moved to New York in 1955 and they shared an apartment. Essie’s first job in New York was as a seamstress in the garment district. At night, she studied and improved her secretarial and accounting skills. Soon, Essie met Raymond McCarther and on February 8, 1958, they married. They moved to Brooklyn to start their life together. On September 17, 1959, they had their only child, Kathleen. Essie and Raymond later divorced.
After the divorce, Essie began to travel. Early in her travels, she went on a cruise, the start of many trips Essie took to see the world. While on the cruise through the British Virgin Islands, Essie met and fell in love with Don Tillman, who became her second husband. That marriage caused a move to Kansas City. Essie’s life was about to change again. With new surroundings and a new job, she made a new life for herself and Kathleen in Kansas City. During that time Essie made great strides in studying accounting and real estate management. At the end of her second marriage, Essie continued to reside in Kansas City and Kathleen returned to Kansas City from New York.
Essie grew up in the Baptist faith, although there were not strong religious ties within the family. Essie did choose a Baptist church for her and Kathleen to attend while living in Brooklyn but after moving to Kansas City, she chose Unity as her faith home. For Essie, Unity represented an embracing community with an open mind. While Essie was still able to drive her car, she would also attend her daughter’s church home, St. James Catholic Church located in midtown.
Essie’s love of adventure led her to Spain and London, and she would gleefully plan subsequent trips with friends. Travel, reading, and entertaining were things that Essie enjoyed. She hosted many evenings of game nights and loved music. She was able to see Nina Simone in person, which was the pinnacle among many other performances she enjoyed. Essie also wanted her child to share her enthusiasm for music, and took Kathleen to see Ray Charles, yet another memorable show.
Work life was equally important to Essie. During the 1970’s she was proud to serve as secretary for the President of Douglass State Bank. Essie graduated from Penn Valley with an Associates Degree in Business Administration and Accounting. She trained with the American Institute of Banking and received certification in 1978.
In 1994, she became a Certified Property Manager through the Institute of Real Estate Management and then went on to specialize in Government Assisted Housing through the Institute of Real Estate Management in 1999. Essie used her skills in the area of Housing and Development with various employers including Yarco, Curtis McClinton and Associates, Agia Properties and American Development Corporation. Her volunteer activities included Plains Association of Cooperative Housing. She was devoted to Unity (New Life) church and served as its treasurer. Working with people with disabilities was the last employment position she held.
Essie loved her dogs; she always kept one as a loyal companion. She enjoyed planting flowers and seeing beautiful colors adorning the front of her house. Essie was steadfast in her involvement with the Vineyard Neighborhood Association and the development of affordable housing. She loved her grandchildren and was present for the special times in their lives and enjoyed taking them to activities throughout the city. Essie was a friend to many and enjoyed being in their company.
In 2006, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Essie’s journey with Alzheimer’s radically and drastically changed who she was and how she enjoyed life. Essie lived a life of adventure. Despite the difficulty of her path with dementia and the loss of memories, her hope, dignity, and beauty remained. Essie leaves her only child, Kathleen McCarther (Dennis Dobbels); grandchildren Jeffrey McCarther (Meghan Lewis), Noria McCarther, Grace Dobbels; step grandchildren (William Dobbels and Derek Dobbels) and a great-grandchild, Eve Lewis McCarther and her cousin Jeanette Lewis with whom she remained close. A special thanks from the family to the staff of Catholic Community Hospice and Homestead Memory Care. Memorial Service, August 4 at 11:00am at Unity Southeast in Kansas City, 3421 E. Meyer Boulevard, Kansas City, Missouri 64132. Repast immediately following. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Alzheimer’s Association of Kansas City. Assistance by Funeral Advocates, LLC.
This is such a beautiful tribute to a woman of courage and adventure! I know these last years have been difficult for her, and for your family, too, Kathleen. Now you can celebrate her life with all these memories and know that she is once again perfect. I can certainly see how you resemble her! She was beautiful! I will not be in town on the day of her service, but I will hold all of you in my heart.
So sorry for your loss. May she rest in eternal peace.
What a beautiful tribute to Essie. It was an honor to serve her family and her.
“The meditation of my heart, the thoughts I ponder through the day,
May they be pleasing to You, Lord and keep me steadfast in Your
Way. When worries weigh upon my mind and make me restless in the
Night, then may I meditate on You and things I know to be upright.”
Psalm 19:14; Philippians 4:6-9