Holly Marie Esser of Genesee, Idaho passed away at Kootenai Medical Center, surrounded by her family, on January 4, 2022 at the too-early age of 52.
Holly was born January 7, 1969 in La Mesa (San Diego), California to Richard and Connie Heinzmann. Rich and Connie fell in love with the McCall area while visiting friends in Idaho. In 1972 they made the decision to relocate and start a new life in McCall when Holly was only three years old. They eventually acquired acreage and built their long-time home just south of McCall near Lake Fork, Idaho.
Although Holly would never have described herself as “outdoorsy”, she grew up outdoors enjoying all the various family activities including raising animals, fishing, hunting, camping, snowmobiling and riding motorcycles. She learned to swim in the frigid waters of Payette Lake and spent many days playing with her older brother and the dogs in Lake Fork Creek and the irrigation canals that ran along the back edge of their property. She was always quick to remind people that her first car was a 4WD International Scout and that it could go anywhere. (And probably did!)
Holly graduated from McCall-Donnelly High School in 1987. She decided to remain a Vandal and made the move to Moscow, Idaho to enroll at the University of Idaho. Holly started out in Elementary Education and later switched to the Sociology and Social Work program. She worked numerous jobs to support herself through college and graduated in the fall of 1993 with a bachelor's degree in Sociology / Social Work with an emphasis in Child Development. She completed the certification and testing process and acquired her State of Idaho Social Work License in 1994.
While attending the University of Idaho, Holly caught the eye of another small-town boy, Guy Esser of Genesee, Idaho. An immediate friendship quickly turned into dating, and Guy and Holly were married on September 5, 1992 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Moscow, Idaho.
Guy and Holly both enjoyed living on the Palouse and decided early that they would try to stay in the area. They lived in Moscow after they were married and welcomed the arrival of their first son, Gavin, in July of 1994. They moved to Genesee, Idaho in 1995 to be closer to Guy’s work in Lewiston and so their kids might enjoy the benefits of growing up in the well-regarded, small-town school system. Their second son, Grayson, arrived in June of 1998.
Holly very much wanted to be a stay-at-home mom when her children were little, and she was able to accomplish that goal. She was a dedicated mother and loved all the tasks and responsibilities that came with raising young children. Later, she enjoyed being involved in her sons’ education and activities and all the people and friends that were met on that journey. Holly ran the household and was the glue that kept everything together and running smoothly.
Holly always maintained her social work license and re-entered the work force in 2003 by taking a part-time job as a social worker and service coordinator with Weeks & Vietri Counseling in Moscow. She transitioned to a similar role with Scott Community Care in Moscow in 2007. Holly worked with the adult mental health community and began taking on more hours as her sons grew older. In 2012, Holly took a full-time position as a Case Manager / Service Coordinator for the Infant Toddler Program with the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare (IDHW). She started in the Lewiston IDHW Office and later transitioned to the same role at the Moscow IDHW Office, where she worked until passing. Holly enjoyed her coworkers and was passionate about her work. She was a fierce advocate for all individuals with disabilities, disadvantages and/or with physical and mental health issues. She was especially proud of the work she accomplished helping children and their parents as part of the Infant Toddler Program.
Aside from her long-time pursuit and enjoyment of anything to do with purses and bags, Holly was all about her family. She enjoyed the holidays and looked forward to the regular family trips to McCall, the Oregon Coast, and elsewhere. She was thrilled when her mom and dad made the recent relocation to Lewiston so she could spend more time with them. She was at her happiest when her family was together … she will be missed terribly by all of us.
Holly is survived by her husband Guy; her son Gavin Esser of Moscow and his wife Elizabeth, her son Grayson Esser of Genesee, her parents Richard and Connie Heinzmann of Lewiston (McCall), her brother Stewart Heinzmann of Yelm, Washington, her aunt and dozens of brother-in-laws, sister-in-laws, nephews and nieces.
In lieu of flowers and gifts, the family suggests that donations can be made to the Jackson’s Pay It Forward Foundation in Lewiston or the Moscow Food Bank. Holly was a staunch believer in keeping people safe in these times of COVID-19 and bad weather; as such, there is no formal service scheduled at this time. A private remembrance or celebration of life will be planned for a later date.
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