Esther Henley, 96; Noted Singer Helped Save Church

IN MEMORIAM: Esther Henley, 96;

Noted Singer Helped Save Church

MILFORD – Esther Henley, 96, a noted singer locally who was honored for her successful efforts to save the Milford Presbyterian Church (now the Upper Susquehanna Cultural Center), died peacefully following a long illness.

Esther Henley was born to Barney and Minna Phillips. Her father was the town doctor, making house calls and having admitting privileges at Fox Hospital.

She was predeceased by her husband, Raymond K. Henley; her daughter, Heidi Basham; and her companion, George Thomas.

She is survived by her daughters, Karen Richardson-Henley and Diane Henley; her daughter-in-law, Cate Richardson-Henley, and her grandson, Wylie Basham.

Mrs. Henley was well-known for her singing abilities, and, more recently, for her steadfast work with the Milford Historical Association to preserve the old Presbyterian Church. In 1998, Mrs. Henley was given a Community Service Award by the Milford Rotary Club for her “tireless efforts in ensuring the preservation of the Milford Presbyterian Church.”

Mrs. Henley also volunteered at the SPCA thrift shop for more than 20 years and was a great lover of animals.

During her singing career, she sang with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir while living in Utah. She was also well-known for her lyric soprano voice and frequently sang duets and solos in many different venues, as well as at the Milford Presbyterian Church with her good friend, Edie Woodrow.

Mrs. Henley was born and raised in the towns of Hartwick and Milford, but traveled the world with her husband, who was a lieutenant colonel with the Air Force. She was well-known in the Milford area for her kindness, generosity and her physical and inner beauty.

A memorial service will be held from 2 to 4 p.m., July 14, at Upper Susquehanna Cultural Center, 81 N. Main St (Route 28), Milford.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Sierra Club.

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