Esther (Ruiz) Theis, 71, of Turlock, passed away Thursday, February 18, 2021 after a 14-year battle with breast/liver cancer. Esther was born in Newman, CA to Frank and Rebecca Ruiz, the youngest of four siblings. Esther grew up on the family dairy in Stevinson, CA and attended schools in Hilmar graduating from Hilmar High School in 1968. She went on to barber college and became a barber working in Ray Kinzie’s Barber Shop on Lander Ave in Turlock.
In 1969 she married Jim Theis. Together, they relocated to St. Cloud, MN in 1972 and then continued to move around the country with Jim’s employer, Armour Food Company/ConAgra for the next 11 years, living in Lampasas, TX, Phoenix, AZ, and again in St. Cloud. Esther and Jim’s first son, Marcus, was born in 1977 in Phoenix, AZ. In 1984, they had the opportunity to move back to Turlock – an easy choice to return to family over snow and subzero temperatures! A few years later, in 1987, they welcomed their second son, Matthew, in Turlock and they were home to stay. Esther was always up to the challenge of relocating the family and developed lasting friendships wherever she went.
Esther will always be remembered as a kind and caring person, with an unrelenting devotion to her family and friends. She was so proud of her two sons and found immense joy in spending time with her grandchildren and watching them grow. Over the last several years, she was an active participant in the Cancer Support Group at Emanuel Medical Center and would always make time to meet with individuals that were first diagnosed to provide words of encouragement and guidance.
Esther was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Rebecca Ruiz, and two brothers, Arthur and Robert Ruiz. She is survived by her husband of 51 years, Jim Theis; her sons Marcus and Matt (Amanda); sister Anita Mitchell (Mike); nieces Bonnie Adkins, Mary Margaret Woodrum; nephew James Ruiz; and grandchildren Betsy and Ben Theis, who were the light of her life.
Many thanks to Dr. Naresh Patel at Kaiser Oncology in Modesto for his relentless efforts in extending Esther’s time with family and friends, Pastor Dave Larson for his compassion and words of comfort, and the staff at Community Hospice who were so responsive in Esther’s last days.
Turlock Memorial Park & Funeral Home is handling arrangements, however due to COVID-19 circumstances, private services will be limited to family members. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donating in honor of Esther Theis to Community Hospice or a charity of your choice.