Ernst, Eleanor Graham "Sally"


 Age 83, on Tuesday, January 4, 2011 of Providence Point, Scott Township, formerly of Bethel Park, from complications of a stroke suffered on Father's Day 2010. Born in Pittsburgh on January 17, 1927. Daughter of Freda and Howard L. Graham of Wilkinsburg, PA; sister of Howard L. Graham, Jr. of Saxonburg, PA; Jean Kelsey of Mayville, NY; Henry Graham of Ohio and proceeded in death by Nancy Ross of Winston-Salem, NC; married to Edwin G. Ernst, Jr. on September 16, 1950; mother to three sons, Edwin R. Ernst (Odessa) of Hilton Head Island SC, Thomas G. Ernst (Gale) of Belle Mead, NJ and Robert M. Ernst (Lisa) of Bethel Park; grandmother to Jonathan and Matthew Ernst of Belle Meade, NJ; Alex and Emily Ernst of Peters Township.

Sally grew up in Wilkinsburg, PA, graduating from Wilkinsburg High School then studied Nursing at Shadyside Hospital graduating in 1946. After graduation, she worked in the Operating Rooms at Shadyside Hospital. She met her soon to be husband at the marriage of her brother, Howard, who had met Mr. Ernst in the Navy. The two fell in love shortly thereafter and celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this year with a reception thrown in their honor at Providence Point.

The most important thing to Sally, after her family, was working with the United Methodist Church and many of their subdivisions. She has been a member of the United Methodist Women (UMW) for over 45 years. During that time, she has held many offices and positions starting with becoming the President of the Christ United Methodist Church Women 45 years ago. She has since held the positions of President of the Western PA Conference, Northeast Jurisdiction and  from 1988-92 was President of the 1.2 million member Women's Division of the United Methodist Church's General Board of Global Ministries.

Sally was especially gifted as a teacher and taught 22 Schools of Christian Mission, traveling throughout the United States and the world. She was a guest and dignitary in many foreign countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the USSR. Sally was very instrumental in developing The Nyadire United Methodist Mission that includes a school, nursing school, teachers college, orphanage and hospital in Nyadire, Zimbabwe. A link for the Nyadire United Methodist Mission is posted here:

Nothing was too big for Sally to tackle, whether locally, nationally or internationally. Where she saw people in need and in suffering she tried to pool her resources together to make things happen, and happen they did. She personally met with one of President G.H.W. Bush's top aides with 10,000 postcards from around the country to persuade him to sign into law a bill for $3.2 billion for aid to the world's children. It was a bill the President was not going to sign. However, with support of Sally Ernst, and other like-minded people the bill was passed.

Sally was a delegate to the six United Methodist General Conferences, held every four years for elected laity and clergy representatives from across the globe to conduct official business and make policy for the denomination.

A service to celebrate Sally's life was scheduled for 1 p.m ,Saturday, January 8 at Christ United Methodist Church, 44 Highland Road in Bethel Park. Officiants will be United Methodist Bishops Thomas J. Bickerton and George W. Bashore and the Rev. Brian Bauknight., longtime senior pastor of Christ United Methodist Church.  In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the United Methodist Women of Christ United Methodist Church.

Arrangements made by JOHN F. SLATER FUNERAL HOME, INC., Brentwood. Please send condolences to:
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