Esther (Maslakowski) Rzepkowski, 91, of Dunkirk, passed away on Saturday morning, Nov. 20, 2021, at the Chautauqua Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Dunkirk. Fortunately, her children and grandchildren were able to bid a final goodby in person or on Zoom to the woman whose caring demeanor made her a wonderful nurse, mother, and grandmother.
Born on June 18, 1930, in Dunkirk, to Praxeda (Buczkowski) and Edward Maslakowski, she was their youngest child and only daughter.She graduated from St Mary’s Academy in Dunkirk and earned her RN through Our Lady of Victory School of Nursing in Lackawanna, N.Y. She later received her BSN through Empire State College.Throughout her lengthy nursing career, Esther continued to study to maintain her professional edge. Positions she held included obstetrics nurse and (later) head charge nurse at Brooks Memorial Hospital, assistant director of nursing at the Chautauqua County Home, and an examiner for the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals.
Esther married Richard C. “Lefty” Rzepkowski in St. Mary’s Church in Dunkirk, on Nov. 23, 1950. Lefty died on June 19, 2008. One of their happiest occasions was a 50th anniversary party held at the Clarion during which Lefty called her the “most beautiful woman in the room.”
In addition to her parents and husband, Esther was preceded in death by her daughter, Wendy Rzepkowski Vosper; and her brothers: Henry, Edward, and infant Edwin Maslakowski. She is survived by her children: Neal Rzepkowski of Arkwright, Richard (Marlene) Rzepkowski of Livonia, N.Y., and Terry Rzepkowski of Auburndale, Fla.; her grandchildren: Kris (Tricia) Rzepkowski of Fayetteville, Ga., Lindsey (Michael) Short of Webster, N.Y., and Taryn Rzepkowski and Kyle Rzepkowski, both of Gibsonton, Fla.; as well as four great grandchildren: Mason and Anna Rzepkowski and Lilyan and Evelyn Short. Nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews, and great-grandnieces and nephews also survive.
Described by her grandson Kris as “a woman of eternal optimism, hilarious giggles, faith in God and faith in family,” Esther loved parties and milk chocolate. Independent and adventurous, she enjoyed traveling. Destinations included places within the United States such as Hawaii and Florida as well as international destinations including Austria, Ireland, New Zealand, and Thailand.
The family is planning to hold a memorial celebration in May. Details will be announced in the OBSERVER in the spring.
Memorials may be made to Blessed Mary Angela Parish, 295 Lake Shore Drive East, Dunkirk, NY 14048 in honor of the sunshine committee.