Ernie passed away peacefully at his home on July 31, just shy of his 90th birthday.
Ernie was born on the family ranch in the Quartz Creek Valley of Gunnison and attended Gunnison Schools graduating in 1949. He worked a variety of jobs following graduation including working for General Motors in San Francisco for a period of time.
By the spring of 1959 he had accepted a full-time job with the U.S. Forest Service in Gunnison as an Engineering Technician where he stayed until his retirement in 1991.
One of his proudest accomplishments was to survey the original Cottonwood Pass Road. He lived to see Cottonwood finally paved and was honored to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony, where in his speech he stated, “You know the old saying that good things come to those that have the tolerance to wait 60 years… and that requires a lot of patience.” He was good to his word that if Cottonwood were ever paved, he would provide a champagne toast for its final completion.
During his USFS career he also served as the Logistics Service Chief on the Region 2 Fire Fighting Overhead Team. He traveled to 9 states in that region, from New Mexico to Alaska, coordinating all the logistics for major wildfires.
Following his retirement from the Forest Service Ernie began working for Gunnison County as an engineer and stayed in that position with Road and Bridge until the summer of 1999.
Ernie had a love for animals and was an accomplished horseman, traits he passed on to his daughters. He was respected for his common sense and knowledge “from the school of hard knocks” and had many true friends.
Ernie is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Patricia and two adoring daughters Tammy Scott (John) and Kim Nesbit (Les Evans) both of Gunnison. He is also survived by one of three siblings, sister Zelma Kreuger.
He would not want his many friends to risk gathering together during this pandemic to honor him. We ask that you remember the good times and laugh at the fun stories that you might have of him. Donations can be made in his name to Gunnison Valley Health Foundation, 711 N. Taylor, Gunnison, CO 81230.