During the growing season, every Friday morning at 9:00, Esther Foreman can be found north of the Flint Building at the Cooper-Foreman Heirloom Garden, as she tends to the needs of the volunteers who share their gardening skills. In 1998, Esther had just experienced the death of her parents, Ethel and Louis Cooper, and her husband, Horace Foreman, when she read in the Kansan that donations were being accepted for the Heirloom Garden, then located at the Wyandotte County Museum. She made a donation and as time passed, she decided to fund the garden. She wanted a memorial to her parents and husband, and this project, designed to teach the history of the county through plants, seemed a perfect fit to Esther. As a former educator in KCK, Esther was pleased to attach her name to a teaching project.
Esther Foreman is a 1937 graduate of KCKCC and is always proud to tell people. Any mention of this college brings a smile to her face. In 2008, when the opportunity came to move the garden, Esther was excited about the possibility of offering it to her old Alma Mater. She remembers with great fondness her days at the Old Horace Mann Building between Eighth and Ninth Streets on State Ave., the former KCKCC campus location.
Esther was born July 29, 1917, in Kansas City, Kansas, where she has lived all her life. The family home was at 3023 North 12th Street in Quindaro. Upon graduating from KCKCC, she began teaching in District 500 with her longest teaching assignment of 25 years being at Eugene Ware Elementary School.
Esther’s greatest wish now is to see the communities of KCKCC and KCK benefit from the knowledge of our history as it is told through the plantings of the Heirloom Garden that is so close to her heart.