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'Preacher's Daughter' Loved Travel and Teaching

Elizabeth “Betty” McGeachy Ernst, a 1953 graduate of Clearwater High School, was an avid traveller who taught English at the school and in Virginia.

Elizabeth “Betty” McGeachy Ernst, 76, of Springfield, Virginia and Montreat, North Carolina, passed away on July 26, 2012 at Mission Memorial Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina from complications following abdominal surgery.

Betty was born to the Rev. Daniel Patrick McGeachy, Jr. and Elizabeth Lyle McClure on Feb. 7, 1936 at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.

The “preacher’s daughter” grew up in Monroe, NC and Clearwater graduating from Clearwater High School in 1953.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and Psychology from Queens College of Charlotte in NC, her Master of Arts in English from the University of South Florida, and her Master of Education in Counseling from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

Upon graduating from Queens College, she spent a year working in England and loved to travel throughout her life, taking each of her eight grandchildren on individual intergenerational Elderhostel trips.

Betty taught English at Largo High School and in Florida before moving with her family to Virginia when her husband, Dick Ernst became the president of Northern Virginia Community College.

For the first 14 years in Northern Virginia, Betty stayed home to raise her three children and was very involved in Girl Scouts, volunteer work at the First Presbyterian Church of Annandale, and many other volunteer activities including serving on the Board for the American Red Cross Fairfax Chapter.

In 1974, Betty returned to the work force teaching English at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Va. She retired from Fairfax County Public Schools after serving 20 years as an English teacher and guidance counselor.

Following retirement she served as a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice.  Betty was a long time member of Providence Presbyterian Church, serving as an Elder, volunteering on numerous committees and singing in the choir.

She was also active in the P.E.O. organization, and the Queens College alumni organization. As an avid reader, Betty enjoyed her many book clubs and leading Friday night “grandma’s book club” with her grandchildren.  

Betty is survived by her husband of 52 years, Richard J. Ernst of Springfield, Va.; her daughter Maribeth Ernst Luftglass and son-in-law Robert Luftglass of Fairfax, Va.; her daughter Terrie McClure of Manassas, Va.; her son Richard James Ernst, Jr. and daughter-in-law Elizabeth Ernst of Fredericksburg, Va.; her brother Daniel Patrick McGeachy, III, of Nashville, Tenn.; her brother Alexander McClure McGeachy and sister-in-law Camille McGeachy of Charlotte, NC; her grandchildren Jacob Luftglass, David Luftglass, Adam Luftglass, Blair McAvoy, Shannon McAvoy, Rose Ernst, Susan Ernst and Richard J. Ernst III; and many loving nieces, nephews, cousins and a host of friends.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation to:

Elizabeth McGeachy Ernst Scholarship
Queens University of Charlotte
Attn: Office of University Advancement
1900 Selwyn Ave.
Charlotte, NC  28274

Terrie McClure August 25, 2012 at 08:39 PM
My mom's father was Dr. Daniel McGeachy, Jr. who was Senior minister at Peace Memorial for 24 years (1942 - 1966). We were members of the church until we moved to Virginia. My mom's mother, Beth McGeachy, was also active with the church for many years. Betty McGeachy Ernst named her street in Montreat, North Carolina 'Peace Lane' in honor of Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church as well as for peace around the world.

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