Sally Hester

CALHOUN FALLS — Hisae Tanaka (Sally) Hester, 85, of Calhoun Falls, SC, passed away Sunday, May 17 at her home in Calhoun Falls, South Carolina.

Sally was born to Heiji and Chiyo Tanaka on November 25, 1934 in Chiba, Japan. Sally was predeceased by her husband James Taggart (Jim) Hester of Calhoun Falls. Surviving children are James Robert and Lynne Rankin Hester, Rebecca Hester Compton, George McCelvey (Mac) and Holly Marlatt Hester, and Mark and Lena Hester Miller. Surviving grandchildren are Eric and Jennifer Hester Geary, Christopher Hester, Emily Compton, Nicolas and Tara Lenk, Anderson (Andy) Hester, Thomas Wood, and Cecelia Wood. Surviving great-grandchildren are Savannah, Taggart and Lorelei Geary and Helo Lenk. Sally also is survived by her siblings Shigemitsu Tanaka, Chie Adachi, and Kikue Koizumi.

Sally attended the Seisho Gakuen academy, a private Christian school near Tokyo. Subsequently, she completed secretarial training and took English conversation courses. An avid lover of the arts, she studied and enjoyed ballet, Japanese doll-making and flower arrangement. After working at an art gallery, in 1954, she started working at the Voice of the United Nations Command (VUNC) US Far East Army Psychological Warfare radio production studios which broadcast to US troops in the Pacific. She worked as a librarian for the Print, Audio Visual, News and Arts sections and particularly enjoyed helping with sound effects for broadcasts. In September 1954, she met the love of her life, Jim, while he was in the US Army and on assignment at VUNC in Tokyo. Jim and Sally lived in Hawaii, where Jim was stationed at Schofield Barracks, briefly before returning to Jim’s hometown of Calhoun Falls to run the family farm while raising four children, instilling in them the values of family, love, honor, hard work, and service to community and country. Sally occasionally prepared Japanese meals, to Jim’s and the children’s delight, while otherwise preparing classic Southern dishes, especially her wicked good fried chicken. When the kids were little, she sang them to sleep with Japanese bedtime songs.

Sally was a devoted member of the Calhoun Falls Presbyterian Church, where she served as Elder and Treasurer. She was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, Abbeville County Forestry Association, Abbeville County Cattleman Association, Abbeville County Beautification Committee, Calhoun Falls Garden Club and Mount Carmel Yacht Club. Sally worked part-time language translation assignments for Fuji Film in Greenwood, SC and she offered support and hospitality to families who relocated from Japan. Sally was extremely proud of her US citizenship and demonstrated her love for country and community through countless church, school and community events. Her glowing personality served as an inspiration to others and she will be remembered for her big heart, her laughter and above all, her grace.

The family will receive friends 10-11 a.m. Friday, May 22, 2020 at Harris Funeral Home, Calhoun Falls Chapel, 526 E. Savannah St., Calhoun Falls, SC 29628. Funeral services will begin at 11 a.m. in the funeral home chapel. The service will be live-streamed and may be accessed by visiting Graveside services will follow in the Hester Family Memorial Cemetery.

The Hester family extends their deepest gratitude for the outpouring of support from family and friends.

Please make any memorial contributions in her memory to the Calhoun Falls Food Pantry, care of Marian Tinsley, 1130 Latimer Road, Calhoun Falls, SC 29628.

The family is at the home.

A message of condolence may be sent to the family by visiting

Harris Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Calhoun Falls Chapel is assisting the Hester family.