September 30, 1921 - November 26, 2020
Esther Louise Skurdahl Perkins
1921 – 2020
Esther took the hand of Jesus and went home Thanksgiving morning 2020. She joined our father Art, husband of 69 years.
Esther was born September 30, 1921 on a farm in Loretta Township in North Dakota to Helga and Otto Skurdahl both children of Norwegian immigrants. She was the fourth of 10 children growing up in the difficult period of the 1920’s and 30’s. Despite the trying years of the depression with no indoor plumbing or electricity Esther always looked back at her years on the farm with nostalgia where she shared a bed with her sisters, rode a sleigh in winter to attend a one-room schoolhouse and swam in the cow pond all summer. She loved school but was needed by her parents to work at home and in the wheat fields so had to forego high school. This caused a sadness she took with her all her life.
At 16 Esther left home to work at various housekeeping jobs and in a bakery earning her way to attend hairdresser’s school in Fargo. There she met Art Perkins at one of the many dances she loved to attend at the Chrystal Ballroom. Art joined the Army Air Force as a navigator and left for several years in the European theater. When he returned to Fargo he found Esther had moved to Los Angeles where she worked at Macy’s as a beautician. He followed her there and proposed and they were married January 20, 1946 in Portland because as Art said they were not going to raise a family in LA. Together they raised four children first in the Irvington neighborhood of Portland then in Gresham.
Esther was known for her hospitality and servant-heart. She welcomed all into her home and in the 70’s her kids really did bring “all” kinds of people home. She’d sit a visitor down with a plate of her famous freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies and make a friend for life. Some of the kids’ friends eventually forgot all about them but were heard to ask later if Esther still made those great chocolate chip cookies. She also freely gave away her hairdressing skills and with three daughters there was always a boyfriend getting a haircut in the kitchen and neighbors receiving perms and styles. Esther never asked for compensation. Serving others was her payment.
Above all she served her family tirelessly well into the years of grandchildren and great- grandchildren. She often said that her family was the center of her life.
Esther was pre-deceased by her parents, brothers Oliver and Ernest and baby Idean, sisters Annis, Helen and Elsie, her husband Art and great- grandson Emerson.
She is survived by her children Sherry Bourdin (Jim), Gaylene Krostag (Patrick), Brad (Carolina), and Robin Marks (Duane) all of Portland, and 10 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.