Frank Ernst, 95, formerly of South Wayne, went home to Jesus on May 29, 2018, at Lafayette Manor, Darlington.
He was born June 10, 1922, to John C. and Ella L. (Brown) Ernst on the home farm near Apple River, Ill.
He graduated from three-year Apple River High School and a year later from Warren High School.
Frank served in the United States Navy as an Aviation Machinist Mate-Third Class from Oct. 29, 1942, to Feb. 4, 1946, assigned to Carrier Aircraft Service Unit 9. After his military time, he attended Brown’s Business College in Freeport and sold Fuller Brush for a while, eventually returning to the home farm. He met the love of his life, Marguerite Berger, through his sister Bernice, and they were married Oct. 11, 1947, in St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Freeport, Ill.
After their marriage he and his new bride farmed the home farm near Apple River with his brother Paul. In 1951, Frank moved his family to a farm on Andrews Road near South Wayne.
In the mid-1960s, in addition to farming, Frank started his own business called “Frank Ernst Silos,” selling and servicing silos and farm equipment. He won many salesmanship awards.
In 1981, Frank bought Staley’s Hardware Store in South Wayne, naming it “Ernst Farm and Home Center.” He later moved the business to Hwy 11 and renovated the original store and surrounding buildings into rental properties. He still owned these at his death.
Frank was a long-time member of St. John’s Catholic Church, South Wayne, and continued to practice his faith at Lafayette Manor.
Frank and Marguerite traveled to many places, including Australia and Italy, before her death on July 24, 1991.
Frank married Emma Quinn Zweifel on June 27, 1992. She passed away at age 100 on February 15, 2018.
Frank’s business sponsored a volleyball team in the 1990s, and he played with the team. The team shirts read, “Frankly We Play in Earnest.”
Frank has resided in Lafayette Manor for the past three years and enjoyed playing euchre, bingo, and attending music activities. Most of all, he enjoyed frequent visits from family members.
Frank is survived by his six children: Terri (Bill) Nipple, New Glarus; Dave (Nancy Lund), Benicia, Calif.; Connie (Jim) Meier, South Wayne; Gwen (Jeff Ulrich) Ernst-Ulrich, Wellington, Nev.; Susie (Joe) Junk, South Wayne; and Ed (Diane), Monroe.
He is further survived by 21 grandchildren: Janet (Brad) Haack, Wendy Nipple, Kathy (Shawn) Sigafus, Lori (Tom Jr.) Modaff, Vicki Meier, Annette Meier, Tommy Meier, Ryan (Trish) Ulrich, Michelle (Steve) Pelton, Marty (Mandy) Ulrich, John (Lisa) Holloway, Marianne (Ryan) Engels, Scott (Woohye Jang) Ulrich, Mindy (Tim) Obert, Jill (Josh) Cirillo, Barry (Terra) Junk, Gina (Carl) Saglie, Chawntelle (Robert Bowers) James, Kenan (Shena) Ubersox, Joshua (Alyssa) Ubersox, and Adam (Nichole Wagner) Ubersox and 58 great-grandchildren. He is further survived by a brother, Paul Ernst, Apple River, Ill.; a sister, Betty Levy, Binghamton, N.Y.; and many nieces and nephews; stepchildren JoAnn (Lavern) Flannery, Marian (Matt) Olin, Nancy Gertsch, and Charlie (Kelli) Quinn; stepdaughters-in-law Mary (Ron) Berget and Gloria Quinn; and 22 step-grandchildren.
Frank was predeceased by his parents; both wives; sister Bernice; brothers Fred, Roy, and Robert (in infancy); nephews Fred Ernst and Jim Ernst; niece Becky (Levy) Roth; grandson Michael James Meier; great-grandchildren Madelynn Jo Saglie, Craig James Ubersox, and Kandace Marie Junk; stepsons Emmet and Patrick Quinn; and stepson-in-law David Gertsch.
Mass of Christian Burial will be 11 a.m. Saturday, June 9, 2018, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 5695 Main St., Gratiot, with Fr. Sudhakar Devarapu as celebrant. Burial will follow at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery, Gratiot. Visitation will be Friday, June 8, 2018, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Shriner-Hager-Gohlke Funeral Home, 1455 Mansion Drive, Monroe.
The family wishes to extend its deepest appreciation to the Lafayette Manor staff, the Medical Associates physicians, and St. Croix Hospice for their loving care. A memorial fund has been established in Frank’s name.