Ann Essko
Ann Essko
Ann Essko

Obituary of Ann Christine Essko

Ann Christine Essko passed away on February 22, 2024, in Olympia, Washington, after a two-year battle with ovarian cancer.  Ann was born in Barstow, California, on October 10, 1955, to Charles Edward Essko and Olga Tonia (Carollo) Essko.  Her family moved to Washington when she was a child.  Ann graduated from Tyee High School in SeaTac in 1973, and from Washington State University in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture.  She went on to law school at the University of Puget Sound, graduating in 1985.


Ann spent most of her career as an assistant attorney general, representing a number of state agencies, including the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Ecology, the Department of Social and Health Services, and the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council.  During the 1990s, she was the Assistant Division Manager for the Aquatic Resources Division at DNR, then returned to the Attorney General’s Office.  She retired in 2019 after 33 years of public service.


Ann was a meticulous attorney with a bright intellect and an equally bright sense of humor.  She received numerous awards for her service to the Attorney General’s Office.


Ann was deeply committed to helping the less fortunate.  She and her long-time partner, Stu Smith, were known for extraordinary generosity in helping those in need, including homeless persons, survivors of natural disasters, and domestic violence victims.  Her generosity extended to animals, as well.  She and Stu adopted several dogs and cats that had suffered abuse and neglect.


Ann was an insatiable reader.  Among her favorite authors were C.S. Lewis, P.G. Wodehouse, Richard Rohr, Anne Lamott, and Mary Oliver.  She also had a lifelong interest in Christian theology.  In 2022, Ann was confirmed as a Catholic at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Lacey.


Ann also had a passion for photography and attracted a large following on social media.  She focused her lenses on rural landscapes in the Pacific Northwest, including lone structures long abandoned, still standing.


Ann’s biological family predeceased her, but a large group of friends survive her, including her former partner, Stu; and her partner during the last few years of her life, Nick B. Schubert.  A funeral mass will be held at St. Michael Catholic Church in Olympia in the coming months, with a reception to follow.


Donations in memory of Ann may be made to her favorite charities: Doctors Without Borders; Partners in Health; Northwest Immigrants Rights Project; Olddog Haven; St. Michael Parish; and Catholic Community Services.


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