Ann Elizabeth Sutton Esselstein, 53, of Rockford, passed away at 9:20 a.m. on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, at her home, surrounded by her loving family.
Ann was born on October 2, 1966, in Celina, Ohio, the daughter of Ray M. Sutton and Marianna (Wollet) Sutton. She was a 1985 graduate of Parkway High School in Rockford, and continued her education by earning her Bachelor’s degree at Wright State University and her Masters in Education at University of Dayton. On June 17, 1989, she married the love of her life, Mark Esselstein.
Ann was a dedicated educator. After graduating from college, she coached girls’ basketball at Mendon -Union High School. She was hired at Parkway in 1995 and continued teaching there until 1998, when she accepted the assistant principal position at Celina Middle School. In 2000, when mentor Glenn Hux retired, she assumed the role of principal. She served there faithfully until January 2020, inspiring staff and students alike with her motto, “Do what is expected, then do some more.”
Ann loved history. The Esselstein travels took them to many historic places, including a 3-week trek following in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark. Gifts for beloved nieces and nephews nearly always included a thoughtfully chosen book about a historical figure or a specific time in history. She had tremendous respect for military men and women, current and retired, and established the annual Veterans’ Day breakfast at CMS to honor local veterans.
Ann enjoyed photography. She took a National Geographic photography class and put her knowledge into practice, taking beautiful shots of Mt. Rainier, Yosemite, Olympic National Park, New York City and thousands of candid family moments.
Ann was a huge fan of Duke University basketball and had great admiration for Coach Mike Krzyzewski. Winter evenings at home, especially in March, revolved around Duke games.
Long before her own battle, Ann supported the American Cancer Society, spearheading the Relay for Life at Celina Middle School to raise awareness and support for the fight against cancer. CMS students have raised over $250,000 for cancer research.
Ann has touched many lives, generously giving of herself and her resources. Family, neighbors, friends, students, strangers have all been blessed by her giving spirit and her drive for excellence. She will be greatly missed.
Surviving in addition to her parents and her husband, Mark, is a daughter, Emerson, the joy of her life, five siblings: Crista (Keith) Heindel of Celina, Ohio; Maralee (Bruce) Kochensparger of Ohio City, Ohio; Bryan (Kelly) Sutton of Rockford, Ohio; Dan (Marcia) Sutton of Toledo, Ohio, Elaine Sutton of Ohio City, Ohio; Brothers-in-law Ken (Charlotte) Esselstein of Xenia, Ohio: Paul (Kathy) Esselstein of Oviedo, Florida; David (Monica) Esselstein of Huber Heights, Ohio; Brian (Lisa) Esselstein of Kettering, Ohio; Rob (Teresa) Esselstein of Chillicothe, Ohio; sister-in-law Nancy (David) Battista of Huber Heights, Ohio; 26 nieces and nephews and many great-nieces and -nephews. Deceased are her father-in-law and mother-in-law, John D. and Adele (Klopf) Esselstein.
Because of national health concerns, Ketcham-Ripley Funeral Home and the Esselstein family are following directives outlined by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, limiting attendance to the visitation and funeral service to immediate family only. Please reach out to us and we will share your sympathies with Ann’s family. As always, you are also able to express condolences online at http://www.ketchamripley.com. A larger celebration of Ann’s life, open to all, will be held at a later date. We will provide details of that celebration as soon as they are available. Memorials for Ann may be directed to the James Cancer Research Center, 460 West 10Th Avenue, Columbus, Ohio, 43210. In addition, plans are underway to establish a scholarship fund in Ann’s memory.
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