June 19, 1934 - January 19, 2024

A celebration of life will be held in Cape Canaveral, FL, date and location will be posted her Facebook page in the near future

Share your Memorial with Family & Friends

Mary Ernst, devoted mother and pioneering journalist, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family on January 19. She was 89 years old.
Born Mary Ellen McClure on June 19, 1934 in Morgantown, WV, the only daughter of Ray and Opal McClure. The family lived in Welch, WV for many years before settling in Point Pleasant, WV, where she graduated from Point Pleasant High School in 1952.
The former Miss Point Pleasant pursued a career in journalism after high school, joining the Point Pleasant Register before moving to the Charleston Gazette and Daily Mail in 1955, where she was one of only a few women on staff at the time. It was at the Gazette where she met and married Harry Ernst on May 13, 1958. They would be married for 43 years, until Harry’s death in 2001.
In the early 1960s, the couple lived in Washington D.C., where Mary was active in the Civil Rights movement, before returning to her beloved West Virginia in 1969. She joined the staff at the Dominion Post in Morgantown in the 1970s, where she wrote a weekly column – the Cheat Area Notebook – and hosted weekly public affairs program on WCLG radio.
Mary had a passion for reading, education and helping children. She was an active member of the Cheat Lake community in the 1970s and 80s, where she raised two boys. Mary spearheaded the campaign to build the Cheat Lake Public Library and frequently volunteered at Cheat Lake Elementary and Junior High School.
She continued a life of quiet service after moving to Cape Canaveral, FL in 1988, where she served on the board of the Cape Canaveral Public Library and volunteered as a reading tutor at her grandchildren’s school.
Mary loved traveling, taking several memorable trips to Egypt and Turkey. But her true passions were her children, grandchildren, great-children and doing her part to make the world a better place.
After a short illness, she peacefully passed away, surrounded by her family.
We were blessed to have her long enough for her to say how much she loved her family, friends and how much she enjoyed life. Mary will be remembered for her unconditional love, her passion for education, her devotion to fighting inequality and her spirit for living.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents and husband Harry. She is survived by her son Eric and wife Kathy Ernst, of Cocoa Beach, FL, grandson Evan Ernst and his wife Lexi and great-grandchild Kopelynn, of Merritt Island, FL, grandson Zack Ernst of Jacksonville, FL, grandson, Ryan and wife Kimber English and great-grandchildren Lincoln and Evelyn, of Melbourne, FL, grandson Rob and wife Janet Forsman, great-grandchildren Angela, Brianna and James, of Milwaukee, WI.
Son Stephen and wife Jennifer of Seattle, WA and grandchildren Ellie, a student at Loyola University of Chicago and Max, a senior at Roosevelt High School in Seattle.
A celebration of life will be held in Cape Canaveral, FL, date and location will be posted her Facebook page in the near future.
Donations may be given in Mary’s name to Who We Play For, a non-profit with a mission to eliminate sudden cardiac arrest in the young, on their website at
The family would like to thank the kind people at Vitas Hospice in Rockledge, Fl and all her friends for their kindness.