Jean C. Bergaust, 82, an activist in the hospice movement who also worked on behalf of the elderly in Republican presidential campaigns, died of congestive heart failure Aug. 30 at the Manor Care facility in Potomac.
The death was confirmed by a friend, Jane Delgado.
From 1993 to 1996, Mrs. Bergaust was executive director of what is now the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care, a group that works to establish hospice care in developing countries. She was administrator of the Dominican Retreat in McLean from 1997 to 1999.
Earlier in her life, she had been business manager for her husband, Erik Bergaust, an author of books about science, space and rocket technology. She was responsible for contract negotiations and public affairs. He died in 1978 after a 27-year marriage.
Jean Cameron Somers, who lived in McLean, was born in Rio de Janeiro to American parents. Her father was an engineer. She grew up in New York and settled in the Washington area about 60 years ago.
In the successful 1980 Reagan-Bush presidential run, Mrs. Bergaust oversaw the office to recruit seniors to the campaign and answer questions affecting seniors. She was special assistant to the director of the 1981 White House Conference on Aging.
Later in the Reagan presidency, she was a Paris-based U.S. political adviser to UNESCO and special assistant to the director of the Office of Community Services at the White House. She was an adviser on issues affecting the elderly in the McCain-Palin presidential campaign of 2008.
Survivors include three children, Jane Bergaust of McLean, Christine Bergaust of Charleston, S.C., and Paul Bergaust of Atlanta; a brother, five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. A son, Erik R. Bergaust, died in 1985.
— Bart Barnes