Esther Neshamah Shir died in Albuquerque on Tuesday, November 28, 2023. A true friend to many, Esther was always eager to share thoughtful conversations, a good book discovery, a spirited hand of cards, or a cup of latte with a pumpkin muffin.
Esther was born in Indianapolis on July 10, 1947, as Kris Warmoth, to George and Ellen Warmoth. She earned her bachelor's degree from Indiana University, followed by a Master of Theological Studies from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. In 1980, she earned an M.A. in Library Science from the University of Chicago. In 1983 she and her partner Diana Hartmann moved to Albuquerque where Esther became a librarian at the University of New Mexico Medical Center, at the University of Albuquerque, and at the University of New Mexico Valencia Campus where she served as the Library Director for 23 years. She was admired and loved by her staff, the students, the faculty and all who knew her on campus.
Esther was active in the New Mexico Library Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, and many other causes that strove for harmony and equality. She had an unquestionable thirst for knowledge and, as a great librarian, could never stand an unanswered question. She loved books, history, square dancing, Star Trek, art deco, women's basketball, latte at Napoli's coffee shop and dogs.
As a deeply spiritual person, Esther studied and considered several world religions before converting to Judaism. Esther was a member of Congregation B'nai Israel, Congregation Albert, and the Albuquerque Zen Center.
Esther and Diana married in December 2013. Her desire was to be laid to rest beside Diana at Fairview Memorial Park. Her instructions were: "Keep it simple and Jewish!." Rabbi Min Kantrowitz officiated, as she had done at Diana's funeral seven years ago.
Esther is survived by Diana's children, Judy Hartmann of Albuquerque and Ron Hartmann of Chicago; her many dear friends and especially her caregiving "gang of four": John Ames, Ray Rondeau, Beth Nicholson and Melissa Drolet, all of Albuquerque.
A contribution honoring Esther may be made to your favorite charity or cause.