Nora Navarro Esteban was born on September 20, 1934 in Manila, Philippines. She was the middle child of six siblings. On April 25, 2022 - at the age of 87 - Nora underwent Hospice Care at home and passed away peacefully, in the presence of her family members. She was surrounded by those who cared for her and loved her deeply. After enduring a series of painful medical obstacles and the heartache of losing her husband, Jesus Manolo Esteban, 7 months ago - Nora was rescued from her suffering and welcomed back home into the loving embrace of Our Savior, Jesus Christ.
She is survived by her children: Jesse (Jesus N.), Norman, and Jessica. Her memory lives on through all of her grandchildren: Justin, Ysabelle, Zachary, Joshua, Miguel, and Sabrina.
She lived an exceedingly fruitful and gratifying life - both as a citizen in the Philippines, as well as in the United States.
Throughout her entire life, Nora was an extremely headstrong and resilient woman. As the third eldest child in her family, she was known amongst her siblings to be the one with the feistiest spirit. Growing up in the Philippines molded Nora into becoming a responsible and punctual woman. All day, she would work at an American Navy Exchange/Commissary base; come night-fall, she would attend school.
When Nora was 30 years old - her world was turned upside-down when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. Pushing through her own grief and sadness, she took care of her parents during these difficult times until her mother passed away; one of the many examples of her selflessly putting others before herself.
After returning to work, she met the love of her life at a Military Ball Dance. Jesus Manolo Esteban began courting Nora, and the two became inseparable. After dating for a little more than a year, Jesus Esteban proposed to Nora and the two got married on June 16, 1963. While Jesus worked as a Commander in the Philippine Navy, Nora respectfully resigned from her job and committed all of her time, effort, and livelihood into raising and caring for their three children. Family was everything to her - her children were her entire world. Due to her husband being away at work, she was the main disciplinarian of the family - she instilled the important values of respect, proper education, and honesty - into her children. She would push them to seek higher education so they would be better equipped to raise a family.
During her time in the Philippines, when Nora wasn’t helping her children with their school-work or ensuring that the household was kept “showroom ready”, she enjoyed teaching them how to cook authentic Filipino dishes and taking them along with her husband on weekend trips to visit her father in Cavite City. Balancing her children's busy schedules, she was the master multi-tasker that would make sure that the job at hand would be accomplished. Nora loved to spoil her three children, and would often take them to the local street vendors, plazas, and stores - her children recall that it was her fiery personality and determination that gave her the title of the best hagler on the block.
In 1997, Nora and Jesus decided to retire from the Philippines and immigrate to the United States. Following in their children's footsteps, by 2002, they officially became U.S. citizens. Together, they began this new chapter in their lives. While living with their eldest son, Jesse, Nora and Jesus had the beautiful opportunity to be a vital part of their grandchildrens’ lives. They were very supportive of their grandchildren; every mile-stone was not missed - From their births they made sure to be present at every: recital, musical, sporting-events, holiday celebration, tournament, graduation - you name it, they were there. Nora and Jesus’ presence in America made many once-in-a- lifetime memories and experiences possible for their grandchildren.
After being married for 58 years, Nora and Jesus knew each other better than they knew themselves. Nora cherished every moment with her husband, you wouldn’t find one of them without the other by their side. Together, they enjoyed taking the grand-children shopping at Marshalls when they weren’t working, cooking their famous Filipino dishes for the family, and having snack-time of Diet Coke and chips. These two were jet-setters - they loved traveling back to the Philippines, visiting family members in New Jersey and Maryland, and taking trips to the Divine Mercy Shrine and the Blessed Mary in Lourdes. Nora’s love-language was creating unique and delicious Filipino food for her loved ones. Her favorite past-time hobbies included: cooking (with Jesus as her trustee sous-chef), doing her nails, and finding the most beautiful jewelry sets to gift to her friends and grand-children whenever she came back from the Philippines.
She was an active parishioner at St. Mary’s Church in Bethel. When the family still lived in Bethel, Nora enjoyed attending daily mass with her husband. Following in the footsteps of Christ, she demonstrated with her life what it means to sacrifice and lay down one’s life for one’s friends (Jn 15:13). Through her thoughtfulness, she taught her grand-children that nothing is ever handed to you - you must have the discipline, determination, and strength to overcome life’s obstacles and work-hard to provide for oneself and the family.
Nora was a daughter, a dear sister, a devoted mother, and a precious grand-mother. She had an amiable, rare soul and her memory will live on through all of those lives she has touched; she will be greatly missed.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Mary Church, Bethel, CT Saturday morning, May 14, 2022 at 10:00 AM, followed by interment at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Bethel.
The Bethel Funeral Home is handling arrangements.