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Vital link to 4-H family passed awayPosted Monday, July 16, 2012, at 2:56 PM
The Greene County 4-H family lost a vital link to the early founding days of the Horse and Pony program last Tuesday morning.
Esther Eileen Parton passed away at her rural Springville residence on South Owensburg Road.
She was 90.
On Monday morning, prior to the start of the 4-H Horse and Pony Show in the main arena at the fairgrounds, members and leaders paused for a moment of silence in tribute to Esther's memory.
Esther was an avid horse lover and active in 4-H in Greene and surrounding counties.
She supported the 4-H Horse and Pony Club at her Bar-P Ranch, where trail rides and riding clinics were hosted for many years.
Current 4-H of 4-H Clubs of Greene County President Lori Brown says Esther was near and dear to her heart.
"She and her husband Charlie, of Bar-P Ranch, were instrumental in the purchase of our current fairgrounds. They also started the Horse and Pony program in our county," Brown commented on Saturday afternoon a few hours after Esther's funeral service at Elmwood Chapel of the Day & Carter Mortuary in Bloomington.
Burial followed in Dishman Cemetery in rural eastern Greene County.
Brown said it was fitting to start this year's horse show with a silent tribute to Esther.
The show was dedicated to the Bar-T Ranch, Esther and her surviving husband, Charlie.
"They actually were the founding fathers that developed the 4-H Horse and Pony project here in Greene County," Brown recalled. "We've always had the 'Esther Rule' that every kid had to show halter. That rule was put in by Esther because she said they were all going to work their horses from the ground."
She continued, "We've lost an angel. They haven't just been supporters of Greene County 4-H. They've been involved in Lawrence, Monroe and Martin counties. They are just awesome people. This just breaks my heart. She always made the most wonderful biscuits and gravy, chicken and noodles and the kids ate like kings when they were down there on trail rides."
Brown recalled that Esther always like to do all of the cooking for the trail rides herself.
"The last couple of years, she let me cook, which I was really surprised and honored to do," Brown said.
The Parton family has had their share of challenges over the years.
They lost their barn and almost all of their horses to fire a few years ago, Brown remembered.
Esther was a lady of many talents -- off of the ranch.
I bet you didn't know that Esther was an original roller derby competitor and champion until her retirement about the time World War II broke out.
She also retired from Otis Elevator in Bloomington and was a member of Delta Theta Tau Sorority.
Esther is survived by her husband, Charles Parton; a daughter, Wilma Marple and husband, Rodney of Springville; a son, Michael Parton of Springville; a sister, June Kinder-Myers of Indianapolis; grandchildren, Brooke Parton, James Marple, David Marple and Alan Parton; great grandchildren, Lane Parton, Chrissy Robinson and Ashley Gagle.
The horse and pony show went on throughout the day on Monday, but to the many members ---- past and present, leaders and supporters of the local program, memories of Esther were looming in their minds.
Esther Parton was special lady and a dear friend of the Greene County 4-H program. Her memory will live on in every current and future 4-H Horse and Pony Club member. May she rest in peace.
Nick is assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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