Esther Marie Gilardi, formerly of Sidney, died of natural causes on September 5, 2021 in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, two days before her 91st birthday. Her children surrounded and supported her, praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, as she peacefully entered into eternal life.
Esther was born on September 7, 1930 in Fort Loramie, Ohio to Herman and Caroline (Pauwell) Sherman. She and her husband Matthew Gilardi Sr. (deceased 2018) began a devoted and fruitful marriage on April 20, 1950 at Holy Angels Church where they were lifelong members. Esther and Matt created their home, built their business and raised 8 children in Sidney, Ohio.
Esther is survived by in-laws Frank and Carol Gilardi and JoAnn and Jerry Boyd, and sisters-in-law Carol Dunkle and Mary Jean Sherman. Her legacy lives on through 121 family members: 5 sons and 3 daughters; Michael (Pam) Gilardi, Gary Gilardi, Deb (John) Schlater, David Gilardi, Matthew (Julie) Gilardi, Dan (Chichi) Gilardi, Mary Ann (Jeff) Liddy, and Kathy (Kevin) Copella; 46 grandchildren, 60 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great-grandson. She is preceded in death by her husband; siblings Marcella Sherman, Richard (Martha) Sherman, Herman (Barbara) Sherman, Eddie Sherman, Gene (Lily) Sherman, Paul Sherman and Jerome Sherman; and in-laws Netta and Forest Stewart and Mary Sherman.
Esther attended Fort Loramie Elementary school and Holy Angels High School. Known by friends as "Shaky", Esther was a majorette in High School and involved in athletics. She spent her early adult years devoted to her growing family. When she was not serving her children and caring for their home, she was at the family restaurant or produce store, assisting Matt with the businesses. She was steadfast to Matt through the victories, blessings, challenges and trials that made up their 68 year marriage.
Esther was a fierce competitor. As the passage of time allowed, Esther became a skilled golfer. She and Matt played countless rounds at the Shelby Oaks Golf Club where she won numerous club championships and scored many a hole-in-one. Later in life, Esther won the Governor's Cup in Florida. She was faithful to the game until just a few years ago. Her competitive spirit also came alive at the euchre table, where she never turned down a seat. Many relationships were nurtured (and tried) around the card table at the Gilardi home. She dealt her last hand just days before she passed away. Toward the end of her life, and throughout the pandemic, Esther brought friends and strangers together to teach and play euchre and Rummikub.
Esther scoured many neighborhood streets finding necessities and gifts at garage sales - gifts which often saw their way into her "gift closet". Esther said "I love you" best by thoughtfully giving gifts. Her giving spirit has extended far, evidenced by her dedication to philanthropy work in Africa where she is the Matron of the Sisters of Esther in Malawi.
In summarizing Esther's life, the glue that held everything together was her persistent and loyal devotion to Jesus lived out through her Catholic faith. She taught by example, honing virtues that will be forever lived out through her family and friends. During her last years, she committed herself to the care of her friends' souls at the community in which she lived. She taught prayers, organized Holy Communion services and distributed prayer cards. Esther's favored devotion in her last months was the following prayer, never far from her lips or heart: "O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything!"
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 at 10 A.M. at Holy Angels Catholic Church with Fr. Aaron Hess officiating. Burial will follow at Graceland Cemetery. The family will receive friends at Cromes-Edwards Funeral Home on Monday from 4 to 6 P.M. There will be no public visitation before Mass Tuesday morning. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Lehman Catholic High School or Holy Angels School. Envelopes will be available at the funeral home. Condolences can be made to the Gilardi family at, www.cromesfh.com
To send flowers to Esther's family, please visit our floral store.