Thursday, 2 April 2015

In Memoriam Estelle Emmett

Last night I was very sad to learn about the passing of Estelle Emmett. She was born in Estonia in 1925 and was a long time friend of my family - a good friend of my grandfather Alexander and life long best friend of his cousin Dorothea Niggul. Estelle and her family left Tallinn in 1941, around the same time as my family fled Estonia. After the war she spent many years living in Germany. She worked in publishing in Munich and married an American solider named Ben. They later settled in New Mexico, USA, where they spent the remainder of their lives.

I had the privilege of making Estelle's acquaintance a few years ago. She was absolutely delighted to hear from me and to recount her childhood memories in Estonia. She knew my family extremely well and gave glowing praise to my great uncle and aunt Karl and Ellinor Niggul who she said were very noble and upstanding people. Estelle also described my great, great grandmother Helene to me - the only person I've ever spoken to who remembers her personally. Estelle also confided that it was my grandfather Alexander who gave her her first kiss!  

After our initial introduction, Estelle and I kept in regular contact, sharing stories and photographs. Her enthusiasm for life, her homeland and nature was palpable. She was a lovely lady and no doubt will be dearly missed by all who knew her.

Estelle as a teenager in Tallinn.

Estelle and Dorothea at our family country house in Anija.

Confirmation used to be a major milestone in a young Estonian's life. 
Preparations were planned months in advance.

'The last photo Estelle took of Tallinn.
On board the ship sailing to Germany. 

You can read Estelle's obituary here.