On February 19th, 2018, Eleanor Busick Rust Simonson of Falls Church, Virginia passed away from a sudden heart attack at the Virginia Hospital Center. Mrs. Simonson was born on July 25, 1936 in Washington, DC. The second daughter of John and Clara Busick, Ellie grew up with her elder sister Margaret Errington in McLean, Virginia. McLean was a much more rural area at the time; one of Ellie’s favorite pets was a goat.
The family moved on to Ohio, and Ellie attended Oberlin College. Ellie had many life-long friends from her time at Oberlin and Ellie was a strong student. Ellie spent a year abroad, attending the London School of Economics. She went out dancing with friends to the Beetles at the Cavern Club and attended numerous plays of Shakespeare with a curmudgeonly Sir Winston Churchill sitting in the front rows; correcting the actor’s lines. She graduated in 1958 with a B.A. and attended Yale University as a Woodrow Wilson fellow and graduated in 1960 with Masters in Political Science.
Ellie met Robert M. Steinberg, the father of her two sons, David and Douglas, in Boston while attending Yale. Robert Steinberg was completing his Masters in Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The couple fell in love and moved to Washington DC. They married in 1962 at the All Souls Unitarian Church on 16th Street in Columbia Heights. A location selected due to All Soul’s civil rights work for decades and the couple’s strong belief in ending segregation.
David was born in 1965 and Doug came along in 1968. The family grew up in a Chevy Chase home, just outside of Somerset, Maryland. The family enjoyed playing tennis and spending time at their cabin in the woods near Linden, Virginia, where hiking and swimming at Deer Lake were favored activities.
Ellie was an author of multiple books and papers during the time of her employment at the Brookings Institute, including Energy and U.S. Foreign Policy in 1974. Ellie became an expert on non-nuclear proliferation at the Department of State and worked on numerous treaties with the Soviet Union/Russia regarding limitations on nuclear technology and uranium. She later worked as a consultant with multiple companies on the production and shipment of nuclear materials.
Ellie divorced and married Walter Simonson in 1985, who had four children; Bruce, Jenny, Catherine and Brian. The entire clan moved in together at a residence in Alexandria, Virginia. All of the Simonson/Steinberg children have graduated from college with the majority of the children obtaining advance degrees in various fields.
Ellie retired and moved into Goodwin House in Falls Church, Virginia. Ellie continued her life-long devotion to volunteer work and taught English to recent immigrants right up to the time of her death. Ellie spent many years caring for Walter, who had become increasingly disabled by Parkinson decease and other health issues. After Walter passed away, Ellie remained actively social through church, book club, and attending live theater and concerts with friends and family.
She is survived by her sister Margaret Errington; her two sons, David & Douglas Steinberg; four step-children, CAPT. Jenny Nussbaum, Brian, Catherine, & Bruce Simonson, and eleven grandchildren. A memorial service will be held on March 19th at 11:00 am at the Everly Wheatly funeral home in Alexandria, Virginia. A Service of Committal will follow this service at 1:00 p.m., at National Memorial Park, 7482 Lee Highway, Falls Church, VA where Ellie will be laid to rest next to Walter. The Family of Eleanor (Ellie) Simonson cordially invites all friends and family members to an Open House, also on March 19th, at 2:30 p.m. Pointe Apartment #1174 at Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads at 3440 S. Jefferson Street, Falls Church, VA. The family is requesting that any charitable donations in memory of Eleanor Simonson be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation EIN 13‑1866796.
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