In Memory of




Obituary for Esther Louise Davis

Esther Louise Davis, 71, of Salem, Va., passed away on Sunday, February 26, 2023.

She was raised on country sunshine in Palisades, Wash., and lived for a time in Vancouver before she packed up her 1967 Pontiac Executive and moved across the country to Salem 37 years ago. Here in Virginia, she met her life partner of 36 years, Mike Jefferson.

Esther was a floral artist and developed a process for preserving fresh flowers. Many of the dried flowers she used in her creations came from her own flower beds. She authored several books and articles on the flower drying and arrangement processes.

As an avid and meticulous gardener, Esther not only developed inspiring and colorful gardens on her own home turf, but restored the gardens at the historic Preston Place. In 2021, she was honored with the James Simpson Award from the Salem Museum & Historical Society for her efforts and so enjoyed her association with the Salem Garden Club.

Nature fascinated her and as a dedicated hiker, Esther delighted in posting on Facebook the treasures she found along the paths. Her expertise in photography and engaging dialogue invited us to share her experiences. We enjoyed delicate spring blossoms, marveled over mushrooms of all colors and shapes, exclaimed over the wee surprises under rocks and moss and celebrated the sunsets seen from the Mountain Road. She nurtured Monarch butterfly nymphs (each with its own name) to “wing-hood” and beckoned us to watch them fly. She rescued garden snakes that were trapped in plant cages.

Esther was devoted to her friends and family. She decorated our lives with handmade cards, special floral arrangements, and loving phone calls. She was there to support and console us in our troubled times. She celebrated the gift of each day and accepted and adjusted to the hardballs that life sometimes threw at her.

Esther is survived by her life partner, Mike Jefferson; brother, Dan Davis; and sister, Marilee Thompson.

A memorial service will be conducted at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 4, 2023, in the John M. Oakey & Son Chapel in Salem, Va. Family members and friends may gather one hour prior. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests charitable contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society. Online condolences may be expressed at