Maureen O’Hara will not be buried in her beloved native Ireland but in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C., next to her husband, the U.S. Navy pilot Brigadier General Charles Blair, who died in a plane crash in 1978.
Blair had been a Brigadier General in the US Air Force. On March 11, 1968, Charles Blair married Maureen O'Hara, whom he had first met on a flight to Ireland in 1947.
On September 2, 1978, Blair was piloting a Grumman Goose for Antilles Air Boats from St. Croix to St. Thomas when the plane crashed into the ocean, following the failure of the left engine. Captain Blair Jr. and three passengers were killed, seven passengers were severely injured.
At the time of Blair's death the couple was living in the US Virgin Islands, where he ran an airline. After he died in the plane crash in 1978 O’Hara took over management of the airline, which she eventually sold.
“Being married to Charlie Blair and traveling all over the world with him, believe me, was enough for any woman,” she said in 1995. “It was the best time of my life.”
Tributes to the late Hollywood legend have continued to pour in.
Irish Minister for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan stated, “'The Quiet Man' is an extremely important film for Ireland; it depicted Ireland to audiences in all parts of the world and encouraged many to come to visit the country for themselves,” said Mr Deenihan.
“On top of her role as Mary Kate Danaher in 'The Quiet Man,' Maureen O’Hara promoted Ireland at home and abroad right throughout her life. She was proud of Ireland and Ireland is proud of her.”
Culture Minister Heather Humphreys stated:
“Maureen O’Hara left Ireland to carve a successful life in America, but in the hearts and minds of every Irish person Maureen was the quintessential Irish success story,” said Ms Humphreys. “It was in her role as Mary Kate Danaher in 'The Quiet Man,' the iconic film made over 60 years ago and still very much celebrated in Ireland and abroad, that we were first alerted to her natural beauty and talent.”