With a record of doing everything from peeling potatoes to paying the company phone bill, Esther was a fixture at the company's headquarters even in the wake of tragedy and personal loss. When her husband, Harry, died in 1976, she assisted the younger of their two sons, Rich, in running the business. And then when Rich died unexpectedly in a tragic plane crash in 1993, Esther took charge of In-N-Out's operations herself.
Even after her older son, Guy, took over corporate business, she maintained her position as the company's vice president -- and not one content to be confined to the company's corporate offices. "Esther still works in the company's restaurants on a regular basis," former Irvine, California, mayor Sally Anne Sheridan told the Los Angeles Times in 1994. "She's a real hands-on lady... very, very sharp."