Page 62 - Foreign Service Journal - April 2013

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April 2013
the foreign Service journal
from 1970 to 1973. He retired in 1980 as
the chief inspector of USIA.
Mr. Curtiss received the USIA’s
Superior Honor Award for his service as
Embassy Beirut’s public afairs ofcer
during Lebanon’s civil war. He also
received the Edward R. Murrow Award
for Excellence in Public Diplomacy,
USIA’s highest professional recognition,
in 1974.
In 1982, Mr. Curtiss, Ambassador
Andrew Killgore and Ambassador
Edward Henderson co-founded the
American Educational Trust, a nonpar-
tisan, nonproft foundation, which pub-
lishes the award-winning
Report on Middle East Afairs
Richard Curtiss is survived by his
beloved wife of 62 years, Donna B.
Curtiss of Kensington, Md.; a daughter,
Darcy Sreebny (and her husband, Dan)
of Herndon, Va.; a son, Andrew Curtiss
(and his wife, Krista) also of Herndon;
a daughter, Delinda Hanley of Kensing-
ton, Md.; and six grandchildren. He was
preceded in death by his son Denny.
Jean O’Mara Ernst
, 87, the spouse
of retired FSO Roger Ernst, passed away
in Tampa, Fla., surrounded by her fam-
Mrs. Ernst was born in New York City,
where she attended St. Agatha’s and
Riverdale Country Day schools. After
graduating from Smith College in 1947,
she worked in investment management
as a vice president with Fidelity Trust in
New York City.
Her father was Col. John A. O’Mara,
a pilot with the U.S. Army Air Force
who played a key role in “Operation
Paperclip,” debriefng rocket scientists
such as Werner von Braun and bringing
them out of Germany in the immediate
post-World War II period. Her mother,
Margaret Fezandie O’Mara, was one of
the frst women to gain a pilot’s license,
and often took Jeannie and her brother
Johnny up fying.
Mrs. Ernst’s husband of 60 years,
Roger, proposed to her on frst sight
while fying from Nantucket to New
York. Tey enjoyed a marriage of adven-
ture, service and travel. During their
postings to India, Taiwan, Korea, Ethio-
pia and Tailand, Mrs. Ernst hosted or
met President Lyndon Baines Johnson,
Jacqueline Kennedy, Sargent Schriver,
Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia,
President Park Chung Hee of Korea, Pre-
mier Chiang Kai-Shek of Taiwan, Mother
Teresa and other global leaders.
In the United States, Mr. and Mrs.
Ernst lived in Washington, D.C.;
Bethesda, Md; Honolulu, Hawaii; and
Tampa, Fla., and spent summers in Nan-
tucket, Mass. Mrs. Ernst helped establish
a preschool in Bethesda, Md., and an
elementary school in New Delhi, India,
and worked in a hospital in Taipei,
She was an avid tennis player, play-
ing until the age of 86 and winning
many singles and doubles champion-
ships, including the men’s doubles title
in Ethiopia (there wasn’t a women’s
competition). She also enjoyed dancing,
travel, gourmet cooking and entertain-
ing. Mrs. Ernst is remembered for her
beauty, style, caring thoughtfulness,
upbeat attitude and quiet courage.
She is survived by her husband,
Roger; her son, David (and his wife,
Jennifer) of McLean, Va.; her daughter,
Debbe (and her husband, Jef Nichol-
son) of Nantucket, Mass.; four grand-
children, Benjamin, Julia, and Daniel
Ernst, and Sam Nicholson; and many
In lieu of fowers, the family suggests
donations in Jean Ernst’s honor to the
Alzheimer’s Foundation at
Robert S. Gershenson
, 84, a
retired Foreign Service ofcer, died on
Dec. 23 at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver
Spring, Md. He had pneumonia and
Parkinson’s disease.
Robert Saul Gershenson was born
in Philadelphia, Pa., where he gradu-
ated from Temple University in 1956.
He joined the Foreign Service in 1957
and retired in 1981, having served in
Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador and
Mr. Gershenson’s Foreign Service
career included consular, administrative
and managerial positions. He was execu-
tive director of the State Department’s
Bureau of Inter-American Afairs from
1978 to 1980. In 1980 he served as deputy
assistant secretary for personnel.
In 1980 President Jimmy Carter nomi-
nated him to be ambassador to Uruguay.
But the nomination was one of several
the Senate put on hold until the 1981
inauguration of Ronald Reagan, at which
point Mr. Gershenson elected to retire.
On retiring, he received the State
Department’s Distinguished Honor
Later Mr. Gershenson held consulting
positions and executive jobs with ofce
equipment companies in the Nether-
lands and California.
For three years he was executive
director of Meridian House in Washing-
ton, D.C., which promotes international
In the early 1990s he returned to the
State Department to work on various
assignments for the Ofce of the Inspec-
tor General. He was a Silver Spring
Survivors include his wife of 56 years,
Linda Rosenthal Gershenson of Sil-
ver Spring, Md.; three children, Glenn
Gershenson of Hershey, Pa., Geofrey
Gershenson of Oakland, Calif., and Ceci-