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|Ellen Stern Overton|
|Service: September 17, 2017 (Sunday) at 11:00 a.m.|
Location: Women’s National Democratic Club, 1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Overton, who devoted much of her professional career to government service and equality
for women in the workplace, died peacefully of complications from pneumonia on August
21 at her home in
With the signing
of the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact in August 1939, her family left
In 1949, after
applying for a position with the Central Intelligence Agency, she travelled to
While working at the CIA she met and married Edward W. Overton, Jr. In the mid-1960s, when her children were of school age, she began looking for opportunities to return to the workforce in a part-time capacity. She soon learned that part-time jobs that would accommodate a woman’s responsibilities did not exist. Through research for a book on part-time job opportunities, an organization now called Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) was born. She became actively involved in WOW and with the US Civil Service Commission. Through her work with WOW and the Women’s Equity Action League, where she became director of volunteers, she worked on Title IX, which requires that women and men be provided equitable opportunities to participate and compete in sports.
Her commitment to women’s issues continued to grow and evolve. She was hired as the first Federal Women’s Program Manager at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1977. She also attended all ten International Women’s Conferences as a delegate between 1975 and 2005.
In 1995, after 18
years of service to NOAA, she “retired.” After retiring, she volunteered to
create the Global Women’s Task Force at the Women’s National Democratic Club.
It was designed to implement issues in the Action Plan that was adopted during
the 1995 International Women’s Conference in
In addition to her professional accomplishments, she loved entertaining family and friends in her home; attending and supporting the arts and cultural events in Washington, DC; and was passionate about physical fitness and exercise including tennis, ice skating, swimming and roller blading—all of which she participated in well into her 70s.
Her marriage to Edward W. Overton, Jr. ended in divorce. She is survived by her beloved sons Roger W. Overton of Arlington, VA and Michael P. Overton of Hilton Head Island, SC; stepdaughter Wendy A. Overton of Gulfstream, FL; brother H. Peter Stern of New York City; nieces and nephews; grandnieces and grandnephews as well as numerous lifelong friends. Her stepson, Richard D. Overton, died in 2016.
A service to remember
and celebrate her life will be held at 11 am on September 17, 2017 at the
Women’s National Democratic Club,
In lieu of
flowers, memorial contributions in her name may be made to the following
charitable organizations: The Michael J. Fox
Foundation for Parkinson's Research,
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