Lincoln Esbrand, School Counselor from UFT
* Retired school counselor
As newlyweds 49 years ago, Lincoln and Norma Esbrand taught for two years in a Seventh-day Adventist school in the jungles of Guyana.
Dedication to his faith, his wife and teaching defined Lincoln Esbrand from those days forward, until he died at 71 on April 3.
Prior to his retirement in 2015, Lincoln was a school counselor for 15 years at Brooklyn’s Parkside Preparatory Academy at MS 2 in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, helping students get into high school. Before that, he worked as a special education teacher in District 32 for 11 years.
Lincoln was a children’s advocate in and out of the classroom. When he wasn’t guiding youth inside a school he was working with them in his Brooklyn community of Flatlands and through his church in Brownsville.
“He was always happy, always smiling, always encouraging, always calming,” said his daughter, Faith Esbrand-Sharkey. “He was always telling us not to worry about things. It’s going to work out.”
Born in Guyana, Lincoln and his wife went to the same church and elementary school. At 18, already committed to evangelism, he was visiting church members when he stopped at Norma’s childhood home. “We started to talk and from there it grew,” his wife said.
Norma was 20 and Lincoln was 22 when they married. “After that summer, we went away to teach in the hinterlands of Guyana,” she remembered. “We had to take a plane and fly in. Because we were married, they let us stay for two years.”
When they traded the jungle for the city, Lincoln attended an in-service teacher’s-training college, teaching by day and taking classes in the evening. Later, he attended West Indies College in Jamaica and Caribbean Union College in Trinidad, earning his bachelor’s in education. They moved to Antigua, where Lincoln was a high school teacher for eight years, and then to the United States, where he started his long career in New York City public schools. While teaching, he studied at Brooklyn College to fulfill his goal of becoming a school counselor.
Lincoln was excited to run into former students, said Norma, a retired teacher who worked at PS 45 in Bushwick. “He would say, ‘I used to counsel that boy. You see what he’s doing now? He’s doing better.’”
An avid reader of books and newspapers, Lincoln was a sports fan who followed the Mets, Jets and Knicks. He also enjoyed watching and playing cricket.
Lincoln was an integral part of the Brownsville Seventh-day Adventist Church, serving on its board, in its evangelism ministry and as a substitute pianist. He volunteered at the church food pantry and was the church elder in charge of education. As such, he was instrumental in providing back-to-school supplies for church and community children, and he was honored by the community for that work.
Lincoln “loved his family very much,” said his daughter, “but he loved the Lord more than anything.”
In addition to his wife and daughter, Lincoln is survived by his sons, Louis and Lincoln Jr.; three grandchildren, Michael, Samara and Lincoln lll; his brother, John; and his sisters, Maria and Lucy.
Condolences may be sent to his daughter at firstname.lastname@example.org.