Mountain View Voice

News - October 2, 2009

Keeping the faith at 100

Esther Pipkin, becomes a centenarian a 55-year resident of Mountain View, turns 100 on Monday

by Katherine Tolentino

Esther Pipkin, a 55-year Mountain View resident who was one of the original founders of the Foothill Covenant Church in Los Altos, celebrates her 100th birthday on Monday, Oct. 5.

"I thought I'd never live that long — I'm here because the Lord wants me here for some reason," she says.

"I guess when I get there he'll tell me why I was here so long."

Born into a devout Christian family, she says it's her faith that keeps her going every day. Her daily breakfast of oatmeal and flax seeds — the same morning meal she's eaten for years now — might be another contributing factor.

Pipkin grew up in the larger Sacramento area, the youngest and now last remaining of nine children born to two Swedish immigrants. In 1930, she graduated from San Jose State University, then the State Teachers College in San Jose.

Eleven years later, she married her husband, Joe, and together they jumped from San Jose to Catalina Island, where he was stationed as an electrician in World War II. They settled in San Francisco for several years before realizing their need for a quieter town — in Pipkin's words, a town that wasn't so "citified."

They moved to Mountain View in 1954, and that was "where my life began," says Pipkin. Mountain View "was a little tiny city, hardly no city at all," when they first moved there, says Pipkin, and she liked it that way.

She was a substitute teacher at local schools for many years, though her greatest love was teaching Sunday school at her church. "I enjoyed children so much, and that's why I taught 22 years in Sunday school — because I wanted to serve the Lord."

A lifelong Giants fan, Pipkin also loved attending baseball games in her free time. Although her husband wasn't an avid sports fan, he used to attend games with her because she loved it, she explains.

Now that she spends most of her time at home, she watches the Giants and the 49ers on TV, visits with her son Byron, a retired Sunnyvale police officer, and eats a more-than-occasional caramel from her coffee table candy bowl.

She remains strong in her faith, though she admits that "I just hope that the good Lord will take me home soon."

She plans to celebrate her birthday with some close friends, her son, her two granddaughters and four great-grandchildren.


Posted by Diane Boudreautl, a resident of another community
on Mar 2, 2010 at 9:52 am

Esther Pipkin, in your simplistic and beautiful approach to life that seems to capture the essence of joy incapsuled in simple pleasures and faith that God has a're an inspiration to us all. Happy Birthday !! (Diane Boudreault/Scotts Valley, CA)

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