Suzy Esstman dies at 44


Susan “Suzy” Zucker Esstman, widely admired for her community volunteer work, including creation of the Walking on Sunshine fundraising event to benefit the neuro-oncology unit at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, died Sunday, July 8, 2007, at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, of a brain tumor. She was 44 and a resident of Chesterfield at the time of her passing.

A native of St. Louis, Mrs. Esstman graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she was a member of Delta Gamma sorority and the Homecoming Court. She was voted one of the 1984 Top 10 Women of Mizzou by the Association for Women Students on the campus.

Mrs. Esstman was employed as a sales and marketing manager for Proctor & Gamble in Nashville, Tenn., when she met Don Esstman. The couple were married in 1988.

Mrs. Esstman volunteered at the Green Trails Elementary School, creating a “Pop Open a Book” program to promote summer reading. She initiated this program while she and her husband were raising their three children.

At the Jewish Community Center, Mrs. Esstman served as secretary and member of the JCC Board of Directors in 2003 and 2004. She was a former chairwoman of the Helene Mirowitz Department of Jewish Community Life and led the grand opening festivities of the JCC Marilyn Fox Building in Chesterfield.

In recognition of her volunteer and leadership roles at the JCC, Mrs. Esstman received the organization’s Emerging Leader Award, and in 2005, she became the youngest recipient of the Richard S. Weiss Award, named in honor of a late president of the JCC.

Mrs. Esstman was disagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in 2004, after which she created the Walking on Sunshine fundraising event to benefit the neuro-oncology unit at the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. The event has raised more than $60,000 in two years.

Funeral services were scheduled for Monday, July 9, at Central Reform Congregation, 5020 Waterman Avenue, starting with visitation at 1 p.m., to be followed by the service and burial at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery, 650 White Road.

Survivors include her husband, Don Esstman; a daughter, Laurel Esstman, and two sons, Andrew Esstman and Joe Esstman, all of Chesterfield; her parents, Nelson and Joan Zucker of St. Louis County, and two brothers, Rick Zucker of Chesterfield and Hank Zucker of Minnetonka, Minn.

Memorial contributions to continue the battle against brain tumors may be made to the Suzy Esstman Charitable Fund, hosted by the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, 12 Millstone Campus Drive, St. Louis, Mo., 63146.