Her sister Stella recalled Esther was the youngest in a family of 12 children who grew up to be an advocate for social change. Among her many roles, she was An organizer for the United Farmworkers Union, A social worker with Centro La Familia, and Fresno County Head Start.. She served her city as a member of the Fresno City council.
Formers State Assembly Member Juan Arambula remembered her as a pioneer. "I think Esther was a real pioneer as a woman serving on the city council she really set an example for a lot of people,"
Friend and associate Luisa Medina, who's an advocate with Central California Legal Services, said "We have lost a good warrior today. She was a strong community advocate, she fought for farmworkers rights, and she fought for women she fought for social justice."
The former Director of Fresno County Social Services, Ernie Valdez recalled Padilla's selfless devotion to the less fortunate. "She was committed to people, committed to people who couldn't care for themselves."
Esther Padilla was perhaps best known for her work with the transplant donor network. Herself the recipient of a kidney transplant from her daughter she was a vigorous advocate for organ donation. The kidney transplant she received from her daughter gave her 17 additional years of life. She spent most of those years advocating for, and promoting organ donation. Medina says Esther's work gave life to others.
"People are living today because of Esther and will continue to live in the future because of Esther, just one example of the many things her life she was able to accomplish in her life."
Esther Padilla was 69 years old. She is survived by her husband Gilbert, and daughter, Adelita.