Hester Cotton Dolbear Sperduto
October 18, 1921- December 18, 2016
At age 95, after a life full of enjoying family and friends, international public relations, and the beauty of gardens, woodlands and watercolors, Hester passed away peacefully with her sons by her side. Hester Cotton Dolbear first lived in Watertown, Massachusetts with parents Benjamin L. Dolbear and Alice Cotton Dolbear and brother Richard. The family soon moved to School St. in Belmont where Benjamin built a new house. Hester attended Belmont High School and Massachusetts College of Art where she majored in Fine Arts and Technical Drawing, graduating in the early 1940s. She took a job at MIT as a technical draftsperson in the Radiation Laboratory where she and Anthony Sperduto worked on early radar systems. Hester and Anthony were married in 1950 and lived first in Newton, then Lexington, raising three sons, David Anthony, Richard Angelo, and Daniel Dolbear Sperduto.
Hester was an avid watercolor painter, and enjoyed pencil drawing, particularly of family gatherings. She enjoyed the colors of nature and working in her flower gardens, and in the early spring enjoyed bringing to her friends bouquets of pussy willows from the trees in her yard. The pussy willow bunches were also a staple for Lexington Gardens and Wilson’s Farm for years. Hester had an insatiably curious mind and loved both reading and analytical discussion. She was a dedicated reader in matters of science and the humanities, with particular interests in geology, meteorology, archeology, nature, and unexplained mysteries of any kind.
Anthony and Hester shared a passion for international cultural exchange. In 1966 they started the Sister City Committee in Lexington, a non-profit organization establishing a sistership affiliation between students, residents, and town officials in Lexington and Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico. This relationship lasted almost 50 years, promoting international friendship, spirit and warmth amongst the participants. Both cities shared the distinction of being the birthplace of their country’s revolution. Hester operated and sold Mexican goods from the La Tienda store in Lexington center for over 20 years, providing funding for dozens of American students to visit Mexico, and Mexican students to visit America. Hester and Anthony also were deeply involved in the People-to-People Organization in Lexington that brought students from other nations to America.
Hester adored the family cottage in South Lyme Connecticut where she spent summers (and one or two winters) from the age of seven until last year. Over the years five generations of her family enjoyed the joyous sounds of summer and three seasons of nature with her at the cottage. She developed an interest in archaeology through the Connecticut Archaeological Society and became so possessed with the search for Native American arrowheads that she methodically dug up large portions of the yard around her cottage. And she found one arrowhead!
Although Hester struggled with depression most of her life, she made time to volunteer during the 1980s at McLean Hospital where she interacted with patients and offered them support and companionship. In the 1990s she volunteered as a grandmother figure at the Penikese Island School for teenagers and young men at risk. She is predeceased by her brother Richard and survived by her three sons David, Richard and his wife Ginny, and Daniel and his wife Molly; grandchildren Talia, Nicholas, and Sara, nieces Katie, Lea, and Maria; nephews Bill, John, and Joseph; and her parrot Quisas. In lieu of flowers contributions in Hester’s name can be made to the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center at McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA (1-800-272-4622) or to the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 424 East 92nd Street, New York, NY 10128, (800-628-0028). A service in remembrance of Hester will be held on Saturday January 14, 2017 at 11 AM at the First Parish Church, 7 Harrington Rd., Lexington, MA. Short, Williamson & Diamond Funeral Home, Belmont is assisting the family with arrangements. www.swdfuneralhome.com