Esther Kellner was a prolific local author, animal lover, and director of Wayne County Civil Defense. She was born in New Lisbon, Indiana and graduated from Morton High School in Richmond in 1926. She began her writing career at age 20 as editor of a children’s magazine “Play Mate.”
She became involved with Civilian Defense in 1965 while writing her book, The Long Silence, about the fire that destroyed the switch office of the local phone company and left the area without phone service for several months. Another noted book, Death on a Sunny Street, chronicled the 1968 explosion that destroyed several downtown blocks and killed 41 people.
She wrote seventeen books, both fiction and nonfiction, including The Devil and Aunt Serena, Moonshine: Its History and Folklore, and The Background of the Old Testament. Known as a friend to lost and injured animals, she also wrote Animals Come to My House : A Story Guide to the Care of Small Wild Animals.