Esther Precobb becomes a centenarian
Posted on 06/13/2018
Happy 100th birthday Esther.    (photo by Liz Cezat)Esther Precobb’s upcoming 100-year birthday on June 23 is an event she’s looking forward to, along with her five children, their spouses, and her two granddaughters.

“I’ve always felt younger than I was,” said Esther, a resident of Allen Terrace. "I don't count the years.”

The Housing Commission, which advises on matters affecting Allen Terrace, acknowledged the resident’s upcoming centennial birthday at its June 13 meeting. 

Esther (nee Schultes) was born in Carroll, Iowa, as the second of four children. As a young girl, she loved music and took private lessons in the xylophone and piano. She performed at recitals. One of the long-lasting memories of her youth was meeting Franklin D. Roosevelt when she attended a parade in Minneapolis, MN, at age 13 with her cousin. The president reached out from the parade route and shook her hand. He left such an impression that when he died, she attended his funeral.

Esther studied to be an executive secretary at a business college, and went to Washington, D.C., to take a job at Dumbarton Oaks mansion, where she did office work for scientific researchers, including those involved in building the atomic bomb.

“It was very exciting living in Washington,” she recalled.

She met her husband, U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Julius Stephen Precobb, at a party. They married in 1944.

He landed a job in finance at Ford Motor Company, and did well, advancing to an executive level. When the oldest child was 16 and the youngest was only three months old, they were transferred overseas by Ford and stayed in various countries for four to five years at a time. The family lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

She and her family made a lot of friends all over the world, and later traveled to visit them. “It makes life more interesting to learn about different cultures,” she said.
While raising her family and for decades later, Esther was an avid bridge player, bowler, painter and interior decorator.

Her family includes Patti, of Novi; Pam, of E. Gloucester, MA; Nancy Jane of Fla.; Steven, of MI; and Cynthia, who lives with her in a two-bedroom apartment at Allen Terrace. Grand daughters are Claire, of New York, and Laisay, of Los Angeles.

“My children are taking good care of me,” she said. Plus, she has followed her doctor’s advice and has survived cancer. Longevity runs in her genes. Her mother lived to 98, and other relatives lived to be 100 and 102. She has outlived all of her siblings. Sadly, her husband died at age 83 in 2001.

Her advice for others who want to live to be an old age is “Just enjoy life.”