Esther Purpel Scott, 78

July 31, 2023

Esther Purpel Scott, of Concord, Massachusetts, died peacefully on the morning of July 22, her 78th birthday, at the Care Dimensions Hospice House in Lincoln, after a series of health struggles.
Esther was born in 1945 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the youngest of four. Her keen intellect showed itself early: after graduating as class valedictorian from Cambridge High and Latin, she attended Radcliffe College, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1967. She made lifelong friends at Radcliffe and Harvard, not least of them her husband Ted, whom she married in 1968 and remained deeply in love with, and he with her, for the next 55 years.
After living in Somerville and Arlington, in 1982 Esther and Ted moved with their son Ben to Concord, Massachusetts, where they settled. Together, they made their home a place of love. 
Esther worked for many years as an editor and casewriter at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. While writing teaching cases about current issues in public policy, she formed bonds with a treasured group of colleagues, doling out self-deprecating humor, mentorship, life advice, and consolation as needed.

Esther loved reading (novels, especially Charles Dickens), theater (especially musicals), and film (especially what she referred to as “small psychological dramas”). Above all she treasured her friendships, and hosted long dinners of good conversation, food, wine, and laughter.

Esther was predeceased by her brothers, Nathan and David Purpel. She is survived by her sister Marilyn (Molly) Marcus, her husband Ted, her son Ben, and her daughter-in-law Kimberly, as well as her brothers- and sister-in-law, her beloved nieces and nephews, and too many dear friends to count. 

A Celebration of Esther’s Life will be held on Saturday, August 26th at 2:00pm in the Concord Academy Chapel, 166 Main St., Concord. Parking will be on-street or in the municipal lots in Concord Center. A reception will follow at Verrill Farm, 11 Wheeler Rd., Concord. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Greater Boston Food Bank, 70 South Bay Ave., Boston, MA 02118 (

Arrangements are entrusted to Dee Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Concord. For Esther’s online guestbook, please visit