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Obituary: Ernest John Mansmann, Jr.

Ernest John Mansmann, Jr., known to all as E.J., died Tuesday Jan. 6, 2009 at age 92 at his home in Mathews, Va.

Born in Marlborough, Mass., he graduated from Harvard in 1937 and took his M.A. there in 1939. He taught French, Spanish, Latin and German at private preparatory schools, the University of Pennsylvania and George Washington University.

He served in World War II at Supreme Allied Command Headquarters in London under General Eisenhower and in France and Germany with the First French Army, for which he was decorated with the Ordre de l’Étoile Noire by the French government.

From 1946-1952 he worked on Wall Street as a foreign credit analyst at Bankers Trust Company and later at the First National Bank of Boston.

In 1952 he entered the Department of State as a Cultural Affairs Officer and from 1956-58 served as Assistant Cultural Attaché at the American Embassy in Paris. From 1958-80 he was in charge of European and Middle American cultural exchange programs and the Voluntary Visitors Leader Program. He was instrumental in the creation of the National Council for International Visitors.

After his retirement he was especially active in Alexandria, civic and cultural organizations, as a travel counselor at the Tourist Council and teacher at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School.

In 1981 he founded Bed and Breakfast, Ltd. of Alexandria, one of the country’s first reservation services, offering accommodations in some of the most historic homes of Old Town Alexandria. His second retirement brought him to Mathews County, Va. in 1993.

He was a member of the Harvard Clubs of Boston and Washington, The Mathews Yacht Club, Belle Haven Country Club, The Alexandria Athenaeum, the Alexandria Association, The Alexandria Historical Society, and the Alexandria Historical foundation.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 49 years, Letitia, and is survived by his daughter Betsy Henderson, her husband Jaik and beloved granddaughters Elizabeth and Caroline.

A memorial service was held Monday, Jan. 12 at Foster-Faulkner Funeral Home in Mathews, Va.