Ernestine Ballesteros

Obituary of Ernestine Lorene Ballesteros



Ernestine Ballesteros, age 94, passed away peacefully on July 6, 2022 at Georgetown University Hospital. She was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Paulino Ballesteros, and her son, Keith Luster-Ballesteros. She is survived by four daughters, four grandchildren, and two great-grandsons, who love and miss her dearly. The youngest of 16, “Ernie” was a proud Chicago native who eventually became a professor’s wife and made warm, loving homes for her family in college towns like Ponce, Puerto Rico; Tahlequah, Oklahoma; Davenport, Iowa; and Reading, Pennsylvania. Through the United Methodist Church in Reading and Washington, DC, she became a social justice activist whose life’s work was securing dignity, fairness, and comfort to those who were unhoused, disenfranchised, and neglected. Ernestine was as playful and childlike as she was keenly intelligent and charismatic. She would recite Shakespeare’s Macbeth from memory, light up when dancing to any Latin rhythm, sing from her jukebox brain of hundreds of songs, listen to opera, read everything from the daily newspaper to Rumi, Kierkegaard, and the Bible. She used her “mind’s eye” to decorate and turn any room into a colorful retreat where one always felt loved and welcome. Ernestine loved Lester Holt, Pope Francis, and Maxwell. She was a second Mom to many and a phenomenal woman to all. A private memorial service and repast will be held on July 17. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Ernestine’s honor to Pathways to Housing DC. The family thanks the staff of Chevy Chase Assisted Living in Washington, DC for their wonderful care of Mom over the past two years.


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