Esther L. (Riley) Bullock was born to Clyde and Lula (Moore) Riley on April 5, 1937 in Bryant, IL. She passed away July 25, 2019 in Arcadia, CA following an illness.
Born in Bryant, IL, Esther later moved with her family to Canton, IL where she attended school and started piano lessons. At the age of 12, she began to play piano at the Sunday service at Canton Church of the Nazarene where she and her family were members, She became the regular pianist in her early teens. During the 1950's, the small church had up to 80 attendees, so there were times that she and her cousin, Phil, were the only two members of the church Youth Group.
Esther graduated from Canton High School in 1955 and received the Arion Award. This award is a high honor presented to graduating students who contributed the most to their musical organization during their high school career, and maintained a better than average scholastic standing. She was elected by a majority of votes from the band, Choruses, and faculty. Esther was chosen because she was the accompanist for the mixed and boys choruses and had an outstanding soprano voice.
Upon graduation from high school, Esther attended Olivet Nazarene College in IL, and then Pasadena Nazarene College in Pasadena, CA. She married Robert Bullock on March 18, 1961 and to that union were born three children: Jon, Karen, and Lisa, and a stepson, Robert Stephen. The family settled down in Monrovia, CA., which started Esther's relationship with the local school district.
Esther served as secretary to the District Superintendent of the Los Angeles District, Church of the Nazarene for many years. She later went to work at Azusa Pacific University in the Student Placement Office where she helped graduating students find teaching opportunities. She was popular with both students and staff, always with a smile on her face and ready to help.
During this time, she continued to play both organ and piano for Sunday services and events at many churches, including Central Church of the Nazarene in Pasadena, Glendora Church of the Nazarene, Glendora Baptist Church, Monrovia Church of the Nazarene, and Pasadena First Church of the Nazarene. Although she was short and had to sit on the edge of the bench to reach the foot pedals of the organ, she was able to keep tempo and set the mood for any service. She loved to play for Camp Meeting services as well, making the piano come alive. Additionally, she accompanied the church choirs and practice, the local high school musicals and chorus groups, and was a popular organist for weddings.
Esther was also a great cook. She loved to prepare dishes for the church potluck, and in her earlier years would have the whole Sunday School class over to eat. Mexican Sandwiches and Chili with a topping bar seemed to be the crowd pleasers. There was meat and potatoes on Sundays after church about every week, but she loved nothing more than sweet corn on the cob. Every Christmas she would prepare the same dishes: Tortilla Chicken, Ribbon Salad, and Cottage Potatoes. She was sure to hear it from someone if she decided to change the menu. The same for Aebelskivers on Christmas morning.
After retiring from Azusa Pacific University, Esther enjoyed being at home with her husband, Bob. She loved to watch movies, crime shows, and listen to the Gaither's music. She also loved to watch football, soccer, skating, gymnastics and other live sporting events.
Esther passed away after struggling with an illness on July 25, 2019. Services were held at Pasadena First Church of the Nazarene on Saturday, August 17, 2019. She was preceded in death by her parents Clyde and Lula, husband Bob, brother Jack, sister Betty, and son Jon. She is survived by her two daughters, Karen (Piereson), Lisa (Lira), her stepson, Steve Bullock, and three grandchildren, Ian, Kimberly, and Christopher.
If you would like to view the memorial service, you can click the link below or search Esther Bullock in YouTube.
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