Margaret Morse O’Mara

Margaret Morse O’Mara died April 1 at her Malibu home. She was 90.

O’Mara was born in Koblenz, Germany on Sept. 29, 1920 while her father, a United States Army officer, was serving there. As a result of her father’s occupation, O’Mara lived in many cities throughout the U.S. while growing up. She studied opera and voice as a teenager and young adult, learning several languages, including her favored Italian, in the process.

As a young woman, O’Mara sang professionally on the radio. She also worked for the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, which was a division of the Central Intelligence Agency, during the late 1940s and early 1950s. As part of her occupation, she monitored English-language radio broadcasts in other countries as a part of the CIA’s information and intelligence gathering efforts.

O’Mara moved to California during the second World War with her mother while her father was stationed in the Philippines, where he was held as a prisoner of war. In 1946, she met her future husband Bill while working at Birmingham Army Hospital in the San Fernando Valley. The pair wed in San Francisco five years later.

O’Mara moved to Malibu in 1968 with her husband, father, and two daughters. Those who knew her say she often spoke of Malibu as her favorite place in the world. Her hobbies included an avid interest in current events, reading (particularly fiction), and keeping up with her Italian language studies.

O’Mara is survived by her daughters Bridget O’Mara and Jenny O’Mara Steinbeck, her granddaughters Becky O’Mara and Charlotte Steinbeck, and her son-in-law Henry Steinbeck. She is preceded in death by her husband, who died in 1986.


A memorial service took place April 5 at Our Lady of Malibu Church.

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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