Intellectually curious and driven, Estelle Greenwald Kestenbaum had a kind disposition that made her a friend to all who knew her. She passed away on April 9, the first day of Passover, as a result of complications due to COVID-19.

She was born in Maryland on July 26, 1928 to Maxwell and Honey Greenwald.

She graduated Duke University early, at age 20.

Kestenbaum quickly began chasing her dream of working in publishing and broadcasting. She was involved in various departments at local TV and radio stations, including traffic control and advertising, moving to New York from Baltimore to further her career.

She met her husband, Alfred Kestenbaum, there; after beginning their family, they relocated to nearby Leonia, N.J.

Kestenbaum changed professions, working for more than 20 years in the chambers of Judge Edwin Stern in the appellate division of the New Jersey Superior Court. She was respected by her colleagues for her intelligence and attentiveness to the celebrations and needs of others.

Warm and personable, she was a mentor for budding law clerks.

Blessed with an ear for languages, Kestenbaum studied Spanish and French, and taught herself Russian in her mid-50s.

After her retirement at the age of 80, Kestenbaum dedicated herself to her new role as a grandmother and family matriarch.

In her later years, she began to battle Alzheimer’s disease.

On hearing of Kestenbaum’s passing, Judge Stern paid tribute to his longtime friend in a statement to “She was extremely well-educated, and motivated people extremely well, and did it in a very gentle and caring way. You had to know her to realize how extraordinary she was. She became a confidant to almost everyone in chambers and a member of the family of everybody who worked there.”

Predeceased by her husband in 2005, Kestenbaum is survived by their children, Nancy, Janis and Ken; in addition to four grandchildren.

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