Memorial to be held at Relyea Funeral Chapel, Thursday, May 17, 2018, 11 a.m., with concluding services following at Idaho State Veterans Cemetery.
Ester was born in Sta Cruz, Laguna, Philippines, to the parents of Mr. Ricardo Yambao & Mrs. Patricia Balanao. The next seven years of her growing up Ester witnessed the occupation of her home town by the Japanese forces and the execution or killing of two of her brothers. Ester had nightmares of their death even up to 1998 (“PTSD”). After the surrender of the Japanese Forces in 1944-45, the Philippines started to recover from the carnage of war. As a young child, she worked in the rice fields with her parents and siblings.
Ester was fortunate to be selected to get an education and was sent to school in Calamba, Laguna, where she graduated in 1953. At 14, she attended the “Union College of Laguna” for further education. The College combines elementary and high school studies to prepare for college. While at UCL, there was a Marine Corps Band serenading the students. During an intermission, the students served refreshments to the Marines. It was there Ester met her Marine and a year later became engaged. But time was not on her side. Her future husband rotated back to the States. Nine months later, her Marine returned and they soon married.
After two years, Ester, her husband and three sons returned to the States. Ester had to adapt to a new life and raise three boys on her own. Over the next 20 years, Ester, along with her family of four boys and two girls, moved from the east coast to the west coast to Okinawa and back to the Philippines. On their return trip to the States, her husband was assigned to I&I Staff in Jacksonville, Florida, where he retired from the Marine Corps. Ester and family moved to Meridian, Idaho, where she has enjoyed the outdoors for almost 37 years, until her health started to slowly fail her. She was diagnosed with diabetes early in life and had major open heart surgery in 2015. She spent several trips back to the hospital for congestive heart failure, pneumonia, kidney problems and other complications. She continued to fish the mountain streams for the elusive trout and salmon.
In March 2017, Ester was diagnosed with bladder cancer. The tumor was removed, and the cancer center gave Ester at least five more years to live. Since she never smoked, drank alcohol or did drugs, the doctors felt she may live beyond their expectation. A month later, and a CT scan later, she was diagnosed with stage 4 terminal cancer and would not last out the year of 2017.
On October 17, 2017, at 7:25 p.m., while she lay in her husband’s arms, the Angels descended to take her home to be with the Lord, and she no longer suffers pain. She was a fighter to the very end. Her last thoughts were that she wanted to go fishing up on the Payette River. She was my love and soulmate for life. She loved fishing, camping, horseback riding, deer hunting and archery. She would wade the mountain streams in early spring without waders to fish for trout and salmon. She has been my rock foundation to keep me on the right track for 58 years!
Thank You, Lord, for giving me this beautiful woman for my wife.
“GOD BLESS MY WIFE”