Esther C. Schmidt, 84, who retired in 1993 as vice president of Hortico, a now-defunct lawn and landscaping business based in Temple Hills, died Sept. 22 at her home in Gambrills.

She had cancer, said her daughter, Ann Maidy.

Mrs. Schmidt helped start Hortico with her son Christian Schmidt in 1977. They were partners in the business, which closed the same year she retired.

Esther Schroeder was born in Bergneustadt, Germany. She moved to the United States in 1957 and became a U.S. citizen in 1964; at the time of her naturalization, she added the middle name of Christine.

She lived in Buffalo before settling in the Washington area around 1960.

Her husband of 36 years, Frederick Schmidt, died in 1986. Survivors include six children, Paul von Kronburg of Mission Viejo, Calif., Sabine Witek of Salzburg, Austria, Ann Maidy of Boca Raton, Fla., Michael Schmidt of Crofton, and Christian Schmidt and Gabriele Vitielliss, both of Waldorf; two brothers; one sister; 14 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

— Megan McDonough