Korean Hester Harrington, 85, of East Mount Airy, a talented children's dress designer and a draftsman during World War II, died last Friday of a staph infection at Chestnut Hill Lodge Health & Rehabilitation Center, where she had lived for three years.
Born in Hamlet, N.C., the former Korean Ellerbe moved to West Philadelphia during the Depression. Her mother worked there as a domestic. In 1941, she returned to North Carolina, where she graduated from high school.
She married Alfred Harrington Sr. in 1943, and the couple raised three children in East Mount Airy. During World War II, Mrs. Harrington worked as a draftsman at the Frankford Arsenal.
"My mother was a talented artist. Her handwriting and drawings were those of a professional draftsman," said her daughter Gail. "She channeled her creativity into making custom dresses for children - sassy, adorable dresses of crinoline and lace. I was her little model."
In 1951, Mrs. Harrington opened a dress shop at 10th and South Streets, and her fashions were in high demand. The long hours became too much for her while raising her young children. Mrs. Harrington closed the shop in 1955 and worked in several clothing factories making high-end men's suits. Mrs. Harrington was a shop steward in the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. She retired in 1978.
Mrs. Harrington was active in the adult Sunday school at Grace Baptist Church and the Mamie Henderson Missionary Society.
Mrs. Harrington is remembered for her quick wit and ability to mimic voices and accents. She entertained friends and family with songs and by playing the piano by ear.
In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Harrington is survived by another daughter, Kimberley, and a son, Alfred Jr. Her husband died in 2007.