Esther Catherine Jones Huggins was born December 30, 1952, in Buckingham, Virginia, the youngest daughter and fifth child of Tom Henning Jones and Sarah Virginia Brown Jones. Sarah died when Esther was three years old, and she was raised by her mother's brother and his wife, Charles Arthur (Cub) Brown and Thelma Yvonnia Peaks Brown. Absent from the body, Esther journeyed to the presence of the Lord on November 16, 2022.
Charles' service in the United States Air Force resulted in several moves around the country and Esther graduated from Cardozo Senior High in Washington, DC. She attended Trinity University (DC), University College and University of Maryland. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Counseling and a Masters of Divinity from the Carolina Theological Bible Institute. Although she accepted Christ as her Savior at an early age, she was baptized as a teenager at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Washington, DC, under the leadership of Reverend Dr. Walter Fauntroy. At New Bethel, she was a member of the youth choir and a youth Sunday school teacher.
In 1971, Esther met her beloved "Henny", Deacon Henry J. Huggins. They were married at New Bethel on June 2, 1973. Although they were not blessed with children of their own, Esther and Henry parented many nephews and nieces, and raised four godchildren.
Esther was blessed to work for many nonprofit organizations including the National Council of Negro Women, under the leadership of the legendary Dr. Dorothy I. Height, and the Black Church Initiative of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
Creative and gifted, Esther became known and sought out for her ability to write clearly and concisely. She said that this gift often earned her the role of "scribe" in whatever group she participated. Her writing ability also produced several plays, short stories, and poems.
As a member of Greater St. Paul Baptist Church, she served on several choirs and in the Sunday School Ministry as a teacher and later as superintendent. In 1997, she accepted her call to the ministry and preached her initial sermon. She served faithfully as an Associate Minister and as Administrative Assistant to the Pastor, the late Reverend Dr. Floyd L. Patterson, Sr. She credited God and Pastor Patterson for stirring up her many gifts which she brought to the ministry- especially the gift of teaching the Gospel and that of compassion to understand the concerns of others.
In 2013, Esther and Henry retired to Orangeburg, South Carolina, where Henry reunited with his home church, The Historic Bull Swamp Baptist Church. Esther joined Bull Swamp as a new member and served as Associate Minister, President of R.U.T.H. the Outreach Ministry, and member of the Deaconess Ministry. During the absence of a Pastor, Esther served faithfully as presiding minister. She was preceded in death by her parents and brothers: Thomas H. Jones, Jr., Raymond B. Brown and Charles A. Brown, Jr.
Celebrating her life and cherishing her memories include, her husband, Deacon Henry J. Huggins; five godchildren, Vanessa Brown McKenzie (Kern), Yvonnia Beatrice Brown, Harry, Matthew, and Bernard Brown; four grands, K'nasia and Kavonte McKenzie, Elaina Blanton, and Harry Jr.; four sisters, Florence Lee (Robert), Doris Smith, Saundra Brown and Ruby Brown Carter; three brothers, Reverend Joseph Jones (Reverend Hazel), Gilbert Jones, and James L. Brown (Arletha); two sisters-in-law, Sharon Randolph (Nicholas) and Geneva Jones; two brothers-in-law, Nelson Huggins (Sheila) and Lavern Huggins (Elizabeth); two aunts, Dorothy Peaks and Gertrude Peaks; one uncle, Joseph Henry Peaks and a host of very dear nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
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