Cover photo for Esther Silva's Obituary
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1911 Esther 2013

Esther Silva

September 1, 1911 — December 11, 2013

The family of Esther (Contreras) Fernandez Silva sadly announces her passing on December 11, 2013. She resided in Kansas City, KS and lived a beautiful life for 102 years.

Born September 1, 1911 in Zamora, Michoacan, Mexico, Esther was the youngest of Francisco and Refugia Gomez Contreras's five children. At the age of 12, she came to the United States with her mother and siblings to join her father who was employed by the Santa Fe Railroad in Argentine, KS.

She graduated from the Clara Barton School but was unable to continue her education due to The Great Depression. She began working at the Loose-Wiles Biscuit Company where she remained a loyal employee for 13 years. In 1937 she married Ernest Fernandez who was employed at the Continental Hotel in Kansas City, MO. Esther and Ernest had one daughter and two sons. After 12 years of marriage, Ernest passed away at the age of 42.

In 1944, Esther opened Spanish Gardens Restaurant, located in the Argentine district. The building was lost due to the historical Great Flood of 1951, but with the help of the Red Cross she was able to rebuild her business. Several years later Esther married Luis Silva and they had one son. Esther and Luis worked together at Spanish Gardens until his passing in 1979.

Esther sold her restaurant in 1986 and opened a new food processing plant she named Silva Foods of Kansas City. After more than 25 years in business, Silva's is still operating using her original recipes.

Since 1943, Esther has been a member of Sacred Heart parish in Kansas City, KS. She was also a member of the Sacred Heart Altar Society and volunteered at Sister Servants of Mary, Saint Joseph Nursing Home, Donnelly College and the Knights of Columbus Ladies Auxiliary (Chapter Lt. William T. Fritzsimmon).

Her hobbies included gardening, cooking, dancing, singing and growing her own vegetables.

Esther also enjoyed traveling very much. She made several trips to the Catholic Shrines of Europe and the Holy Land with the guidance of priests from the Kansas City, KS diocese and other states. She visited Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal, Madonna Di Medjugorje in Yugoslavia and twice had the honor of attending the Oberammergau Passion Play in Bavaria, Germany, which is only celebrated every ten years. During these trips she built a lifetime of friendships.

Esther was preceded in death by her parents and four siblings, Pete, Frank, Mary Vargas and Guadalupe Bustamonte. She is survived by four children all living in the Kansas City area, Mary Esther Perez (Jesse Sr.), Ernest Fernandez, Robert Fernandez (Kathy), and Luis Richard Silva. She is also survived by seven grandchildren; Jesse Perez Jr., Daniel Perez, Christine (Perez) Kuhlmann, Brent Fernandez, Daniel Fernandez, Rob Fernandez and Alicia Fernandez as well as nine great grandchildren, one great-great granddaughter, many nieces, nephews and friends.

Family was very important to Esther. She was so proud of her children and their families. She lived a life characterized by strong faith, entrepreneurial spirit, boundless energy and optimism. She has been a cornerstone to the entire family. They will all remember her as a role model to guide them through the rest of their lives. Esther's kind, gentle, yet strong spirit will live on in each of them. She will be greatly missed but left this life knowing she was loved and cherished by her family.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 11:00am at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 2646 S. 34th, Kansas City, KS. Visitation one hour prior. Burial will follow services at Resurrection Chapel Mausoleum, 83rd and Quivira Road, Lenexa, KS.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions can be made to Sacred Heart Food Kitchen, 2646 S. 34th, Kansas City, KS 66106 and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Pl., Memphis, TN 38105

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Esther Silva, please visit our flower store.


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