Former CIA Staffer, NFL Cheerleader, Noted Horse Breeder, Mary Josephine O’Mara, 90, formerly of Millburn, N.J., and a longtime resident of Ocala, FL, died Thursday, Feb. 2, in Ocala after a brief illness.
A lifelong lover of horses, Ms. O’Mara was involved in the thoroughbred breeding business in Florida. In 1998, she was given the Needles Award by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association as the state’s small breeder of the year. The award is named after Needles, the first Florida thoroughbred to win the Kentucky Derby. Ms. O’Mara’s most successful horse was I.C. Cindy, winner of the 1998 Calder Oaks and more than $350,000 in lifetime earnings
Ms. O’Mara was born in Summit, N.J., on May 6, 1932. She was the last of four children (all girls) of Joseph and Theresa O’Mara of Millburn. She graduated from Millburn High School in 1950 and attended Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, VA. Before relocating to Florida, she worked at the Central Intelligence Agency for many years and lived in northern Virginia. She also lived in Ocean City, NJ. Ms. O’Mara was an original member of the “Redskinettes,” the cheerleading squad of the Washington Redskins (now Commanders) that was founded in 1962. Now known as the “First Ladies of Football,” the squad is the National Football League’s longest running cheerleading team.
She was pre-deceased by her parents, two husbands and three sisters – Mrs. Margaret Stewart, Mrs. Alice Zeliff and Mrs. Florence Sterling. She leaves behind three nieces and four nephews, all of whom she loved dearly. Mrs. O’Mara was cremated and her remains will be buried in the family plot at St. Teresa’s Cemetery in Summit.