ERNST JEAN O'MARA ERNST 1/17/1925- 1/28/2013 Jean O'Mara Ernst passed away in Tampa, FL, surrounded by her loving family. Born in New York City, attended St.Agatha's and Riverdale Country Day, graduated Smith College in 1947. Worked in investment management as Vice President with Fidelity Trust in New York. Father, Col. John A. O'Mara, pilot, was a leader of "Operation Paperclip" in WWII, debriefing rocket scientists such as Werner von Braun and bringing them out of Europe. Mother, Margaret Fezandie O'Mara, one of first 99 women pilots, often took Jeannie and her brother Johnny flying. Roger Ernst, husband of 60 years, proposed on first sight while flying from Nantucket to New York. They enjoyed a marriage of adventure, service, and travel. In diplomatic postings to India, Taiwan, Korea, Ethiopia, and Thailand, Mrs. Ernst hosted or met President Johnson, Jacqueline Kennedy, Sargent Schriver, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, President Park Chung Hee of Korea, Premier Chiang Kai-Shek of Taiwan, Mother Theresa, and other leaders. Jeannie also lived with Roger in Washington, DC, Bethesda, MD; Honolulu, HI, and Tampa, FL, and spent summers in Nantucket, MA. She helped establish a preschool in Bethesda, MD and an elementary school in New Delhi, India. An avid tennis player, she played until 86, winning many championships including the Men's Doubles title in Ethiopia (there wasn't a women's competition). Jeannie enjoyed dancing, travel, gourmet cooking, and entertaining She is remembered for her beauty, style, caring thoughtfulness, upbeat attitude, and quiet courage. She is survived by husband Roger, son David and wife Jennifer, daughter Debbe and husband Jeff Nicholson; four grandchildren, Benjamin, Julia, and Daniel Ernst, and Sam Nicholson, and many cousins. Services private. The family suggests making a donation to the Alzheimer's Foundation at in lieu of flowers.

Published in The Washington Post on Feb. 10, 2013