Ann Marie “Jill” Elston
January 26, 1934 – March 26, 2022
VISITATION: Friday, April 1st from 4pm to 6pm at the West Center Chapel, followed by VIGIL SERVICE at 6pm. MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Saturday, April 2nd at 10:30am at Christ the King Catholic Church, 654 S. 86th St. Interment, Calvary Cemetery.
To view live broadcasts of the Vigil Service and Mass, please go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button on the home page.
Ann Marie “Jill” McDermott Elston died on Saturday, March 26, 2022, at the age of 88 just as mean as ever, she would say. Of course, her jokes aside, she reunited with her beloved husband – after less than a year parted – having filled her clan and the Omaha community with a nearly inconceivable amount of love and kindness.
Mrs. Elston, who penned stories and poems over the years, spent a lifetime writing the definition for dedication as a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, friend, and active community member.
Born Jan. 26, 1934, to Dr. Arnold McDermott and Anna McConville McDermott, she fell for a boy in her Omaha neighborhood and would later recount, with her unique sense of humor, how she saw the handsome young man with a few others and said “I’ll take that one.”
Mrs. Elston spent nearly 67 years with that boy, Dr. James H. “Jim” Elston, on a quest to better the lives of the women and children of Omaha. While raising eight kids of her own, Mrs. Elston regularly volunteered at the nonprofit Boys Town, served on boards for Christ the King Catholic School and Church, served as a member and president of the Children of Mary group at Duchesne Academy and Preschool of the Sacred Heart, served in doctors’ spouses groups for the metropolitan Omaha medical community, volunteered in the auxiliary group for Bergan Mercy Hospital, volunteered in politics on both presidential and gubernatorial campaigns, and supported Dr. Elston as he delivered more than 5,000 newborn babies as an obstetrician and gynecologist.
Mrs. Elston also was appointed to an early commission to bring educational public television to the state and, along with it, Sesame Street to the states’ children.
She was an artistic spirit and excelled in literature and theater during her time at Duchesne College, from which she graduated in 1955. She kept her love of the stage close thereafter, performing in productions at Christ the King where she reveled in such roles as one that saw her tied to train tracks and facing off against a mustachioed villain. She drafted children’s books as well.
Mrs. Elston and her husband subscribed to the philosophy of the four f’s: faith, family, friends and Nebraska football. When they weren’t decked out in red at home, teasing each other about their dogs, or enjoying a nice glass of wine with their many friends, the two relaxed by visiting Captiva Island in Florida, stopping by their kids’ places in Omaha, or on cross-country trips to visit the rest of the family.
Mrs. Elston adored spending time with the large family she built. She preached the importance of education and hardly missed a grandchild’s extracurricular or a chance to read to their class when she was in town. She also for many years hosted the entire 40+ brood at Christmas time, where the youngsters would indulge her love of singing by crooning “Happy Birthday, Jesus” while gathered for photos on her staircase. She somehow managed to make each family member feel like the most important person in the world, recalling small details of their lives with her sharp wit until the end.
She will perhaps be best remembered for her wicked humor, her loving advice and support, and her many “Pearls of Wisdom” or “Jill-isms” that she loved to repeat. In that spirit, her family loved her “a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.”
She is preceded in death by Dr. Elston, her parents, and her brother Dr. John “Jack” McDermott. She will live on through her eight children, 20 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews.
Her immediate surviving family is as follows: Judith “Jan” Elston, Esq. (Mike Moran), Darcie Moran, Claire Moran Bauer (Aaron Bauer) and great-granddaughter, Larson Bauer; Greg Elston (Kelly Butts Elston), James Elston, Alex Elston (Hannah Kingrey), Betsy Elston Witt (Josh Witt) and great-grandchildren, Jameson Witt, Leighton Witt, and Holland Witt; Dr. Jeff Elston (Jan Zimmerman Elston) and Josh Elston; Dr. Shari Elston Tvrdik (Mike Tvrdik), Gillian Tvrdik, Joe Tvrdik, Dr. Michaela Tvrdik Rokosz (Pete Rokosz) and great-granddaughter, Charlotte Rokosz; Mike Elston (Kim Reynolds Elston), Molly Elston (Bill Ayaday), Olivia Elston, Annie Elston, Matt Elston (Micaela Malloy Elston) and great-grandsons: Emory Hernandez-Elston, Brooks Elston and Nolan Elston; Brian Elston, Evelyn Elston and Edward Elston; Cynthia “Cindi” Elston Horning (Tyler Horning), Charlie Horning, Samantha Horning and Isabella Horning; Jennifer Elston, Esq., Sophia Brondell and Kellan Brondell.