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A Life Lived: Shotty Ensor was a caregiver all her life

BY ROZELLA HARDIN
Editorial Director
rozella.hardin@elizabethton.com
Lee Iacocca, businessman and American automobile executive, said: “No matter what you’ve done for yourself or for humanity, if you can’t look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?”
Lora Jesselene Ensor, known as Aunt Shotty to her family, was a life-long caregiver to her family — first her mother, then her father, and in between she cared for a brother, who was deaf, as well as other siblings. Shotty was one of 11 children and the youngest daughter. She lived her entire life except for the last few weeks in the house on Stoney Creek that she was born and raised in.
When Shotty was 24 years old her mother, Mary Kress Ensor, suffered a stroke. There were two brothers still at home as well as Shotty’s father, John Ensor, to cook and clean for. Her mother lived for 17 years and during that time Shotty was her principal caregiver. “Her married sisters gave her support, but it was Aunt Shotty, who carried the load,” said a niece, Dinah Babb, who cared for Shotty in the end.
“After my grandmother died, Aunt Shotty worked for a brief time at a sewing factory, but my grandfather didn’t like her being gone, so she quit her job to stay home and take care of him and the house. He lived to be 91 or 92 and Aunt Shotty took care of him,” said Dinah.
In addition to caring for her parents, Shotty took care of the house, did the cooking, cleaning, laundry and lots of other things. One of those “other things” was raising a large garden each summer and canning and preserving what she raised. “When you visited, you never left empty-handed. She always gave you something,” said Dinah.
“Early on she cooked Sunday dinner for the family just like my grandmother did, but after my grandmother died, the tradition slowly died. I always remember Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner at my grandparents. Aunt Shotty kept that up for a long time. She was a wonderful cook,” said Dinah.
“I remember, she could make the best German Chocolate and Carrot Cakes from scratch. Each year at Christmas, she made bunches of them and gave them for Christmas gifts,” Dinah shared.
In addition to her parents, Shotty took care of several siblings, including Dinah’s mother. “She was always there for her family. She babysat. A lot of grandkids got dropped off for Aunt Shotty to watch,” Dinah explained.
A very independent person, Dinah said her Aunt Shotty after she got older learned to drive and play the piano. “She could do anything she set her mind to,” her niece said.
How did Jesselene get the name “Shotty?” Dinah shared that according to her aunt, a cousin, Clifford Kress, gave her the nickname and it stuck.
Dinah said her Aunt Shotty, who was 85 years old when she died, remained independent up until about two months ago when she fell and broke a hip and developed some dementia. She went to a local nursing home for rehab. “That’s when I decided to take her home with me and care for her. She was under the care of hospice the last three weeks of her life,” said Dinah, who was helped with Shotty’s care by her husband, Rick, and daughter, Amanda. Up until then she had been the caregiver for her family.
Aunt Shotty was laid to rest July 21 in the Kress Cemetery.
It has been said that we have two hands, one to help ourselves and one to help others. Shotty Ensor used both of her hands and all that she had to help others, and it did not go unnoticed.