A nurse serving the Olympic Peninsula for more than 30 years succumbed to cancer in late April.
Cherie “Cher” Estes, 69, of Port Angeles, worked for Olympic Medical Center for 32 years — much of those in OMC’s critical care unit.
Up until her death she worked as a nurse for Assured Hospice of Clallam and Jefferson County, for more than two years traveling to serve patients from Forks to Brinnon.
“Cher will be missed, but always loved by those who knew her passion, devotion and dedication to the community,” said Charla Wright, senior account executive for Assured Hospice of Clallam and Jefferson Counties.
Estes remained dedicated to her patients even as she battled metastatic liver cancer. Wright said Estes visited her last hospice patient 12 days before her own death on April 24.
“Obviously, her cancer rapidly progressed and didn’t allow Cher the luxury of time, but then again, she worked tirelessly up to the end,” Wright said.
“She was an amazing person, mother and friend to those she kept close.”
Estes was born in Port Angeles and grew up in the Elwha Valley, family said. She also attended Peninsula College and had two children, Amber Miller and Justin Estes.
Friends said Estes loved to be outdoors, hike with her dog Navi (who passed last year), bake, and spend time with her family and friends. Estes planned to get a similar breed as Navi but she passed away three days before the pickup date.
Myrna Dueno, an OMC nurse, served with Estes for 30 years in the Critical Care and Telemetry Unit and said she’ll be “greatly missed as a caring nurse and wonderful friend.”
“Cher was a very kind, caring nurse and a strong advocate for her patients welfare and their families,” Dueno said. “She was skilled and passionate to the nursing profession. Her soft and gentle voice would allay the fears and anxiety of her patients who will be undergoing a procedure or surgery.”
Dueno recalls Estes as an “IV sharp shooter “ with a special skill in starting intravenous needles for patients who had “challenging veins.”
Estes was also like a “mother figure to our young colleagues and will offer to pick them up if they have car troubles,” Dueno said.
Jeana Hutton, a fellow OMC nurse, knew Estes since January 2001 and said she loved how “warm and compassionate” Estes was to others.
“She was always willing to help and when I started out as a CNA and through my career Cher was always a resource for me,” Hutton said.
“Everyone is going to miss her. She’s still family to us.”
Wright said the Assured Hospice family was privileged to care for Estes in her final hours and her family at her daughter’s home.
“We all came together, put our resources and connections to work and made it happen,” she said.
“We were able to help her daughter bring her home from the hospital where she had worked for so long, so that she could be surrounded by her loving family.”
Assured Hospice’s Visiting Nurse’s Foundation (www.visitingnursesfoundation.org) provided a grant to cover care at home.
To cover funds for the foundation, staff hold fundraisers.
Community members can also donate in her name, Cherie Estes, by sending donations to: Assured Hospice of Clallam and Jefferson Counties, 1102 E. 1st Street, Port Angeles, WA 98362.