Former Pacific Palisades resident Esther S. Brudo died on August 23 in Watertown, Massachusetts. She was 95 and had been active in the Palisades Senior Alliance and the American Legion Post 283 Auxiliary.
Born July 1, 1926, in Philadelphia as Esther Snyder, she spent her childhood in Valley City, North Dakota, where her family operated a small store.
During the Depression, her father got a job with the federal government as a printer, and the family moved to the nation’s Capital.
Esther graduated from Washington’s Eastern High School and married Jerry Blustein, whom she had met at Jewish fraternity-sorority gatherings.
The boss at a publishing firm where she worked part-time exhorted her to try college, insisting she had the brains for it. Like many women of her generation, she originally harbored no ambition to go to college — nobody in her family had done so — but she was encouraged to attend night classes and, as she later recalled: “I loved it; there was no turning back. I decided early on I wanted to be a psychologist and save the world.”
Her husband was attending Georgetown University and Esther joined him, eventually earning a degree from that university.
When her husband went to graduate school in political science at the University of Chicago, Esther worked on her master’s degree in psychology.
Settling in Maryland in the 1950s, the couple started a family. As they were raising three children, Esther also started working at a school for children with behavioral issues.
She went on to earn a doctorate at the University of Maryland, and later went into private practice.
After Jerry’s sudden death in 1970, Esther married Charles Brudo, a fellow psychotherapist she had known in college who was living in Santa Monica.
Esther moved to the West Coast and started working for the Los Angeles school system to help teachers and day-care centers support children with complex needs.
She joined Charles in private practice. An active participant in the Palisades Democratic Club, she also joined theater and writing groups in her retirement and composed poetry, much of it about her childhood memories.
Following Charles’ death in May 2021, Esther moved back East to enjoy the last chapter of her life near family members, but health setbacks cut that chapter unexpectedly short. Her final days were spent with her children, Paul Blustein of Kamakura, Japan, Jan Blustein of New York City, and Laura Blustein of Watertown. She is also survived by a nephew, David Snyder of Brooklyn; two stepdaughters, Rebecca Kosowski of Seattle and Evann Grey of Santa Monica; seven grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and one grand-nephew.
(To learn more, visit a memorial website: Estherbrudo.com.)