Esther J. Appler was an NIU graduate who also received a master’s degree in nursing from Yale University. After graduation Esther worked in several educational and public nursing roles including Executive Director of the Ogle County Tuberculosis Association and Director of Nursing at Sauk Valley College. Eventually, Esther returned home to NIU to serve as an Assistant Professor of Nursing and to retire in 1988 as an Academic Advisor of Nursing.
Esther was known throughout her career for her hard work, professionalism and dedication to the practice of nursing. Her students remembered her fondly for the special attention she gave each of them and her sincere desire to help each student achieve his or her own unique success.
Esther came to nursing school from a family of modest means and therefore had to be employed throughout her time as a student and pay for most of her educational costs through work and scholarship money. Despite this challenge, Esther managed to maintain a high grade point average and was able to assist others as well during her education.
She once asked her mother “How will I be able to repay all those who helped me through Nursing School?” Her mother replied, “You will not be able to repay them, but you will be able to help others.” Esther did go on to help others – countless others, in fact. She quietly helped nursing students with their career planning and sometimes with their tuition bills. She relentlessly helped her family, church, community and nursing organizations.
Her family remembers Esther as simply the most unselfish person they have ever met. She would spend nothing on comforts for herself, yet thousands to bring her family together from across the county so that they might know and love each other. Esther cared about each of the struggles of her family members and was there with encouragement and optimism every day of their lives. She was a hugger and a kidder and it was impossible not to be affected by her big heart and spirit.
Esther’s family and friends are grateful for having been the recipients of her generosity and are honored to establish this fund. That, then, is the purpose of the Esther J. Appler Scholarship – to honor her memory and to perpetuate forever Esther’s life mission of helping others.