Cookbook served family-styleBy Sheldon C. Good Mennonite World Review
Graber worked remotely for MPH for more than 50 years and retired a few years ago to follow her interest as a watercolorist.
Her husband, Ron Graber, also graduated from Goshen College. After being deferred from serving in the Korean War, he volunteered for the Alaska Native Health Service.
“He felt like he owed his time to the country,” Graber said.
Ron was born in India and lived there until he was 13. His father, J.D. Graber, was an influential church leader in the mid-20th century.
In 1957 young Esther and Ron, with their two oldest children, Jane and Ellen, moved to a small island of 200 residents in the Bering Sea off the Alaskan coast.
Since Ron was the only doctor nearby, he was the one to discover that Esther, seven months pregnant, was having twins. In July 1958 he delivered the elder twin, Sibyl, before another doctor arrived to deliver Ann.
A year later the family moved to Chicago for Ron to continue surgical training. In 1965, after the former Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities invited Ron to be Hospital General Menonita’s first surgeon, the family moved to Puerto Rico.
“We fell in love with the [land] and the people,” Graber said. “We committed for five years, but when five years were up, we wanted to stay. And we have been there ever since.”
Ron served initially on a “voluntary service” salary and then worked in a private surgical practice until retirement in 1998.
The couple now lives half the year in Puerto Rico and half in Indiana, near most of the extended Graber family.
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