Maurice Bruce Ernest, 76, passed away peacefully Sunday July 30th, surrounded by his family. He was born November 6th, 1940 in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, son of Bill and Evelyn Ernest. He was married to Judy Elaine Nelson for 55 wonderful years.
Maurice is survived by his wife Judy, his three sons; David (Micki) of Poplar Grove, IL, Steve (Mayela) of Windsor, CT, and Jeff (Michelle) of Garden Prairie. He also was very proud of each of his 9 grandchildren, Mandi (Matt) Bernatz, Abbi and Malli; Derek, Emily and Katie; Maya, Carlos and Lia, and 2 great-grand daughters, Cynthia and Charlotte Bernatz. Also surviving are sister Dora Stewart of Wilson, NY, and sister-in-law Beverly Cofrancesco of Venice, FL. He is predeceased, by his parents, and brother David.
Maurice enlisted in the navy in 1958 when he was 17. While stationed in Rhode Island he met Judy, the love of his life, on a blind date. They were married in Waterbury, CT on July 7th, 1962. Shortly after that, he was stationed on the USS Independence in the naval blockade of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
They lived in Rhode Island until he was discharged from the Navy. They moved back to Belle Fourche for three years. In 1967, they moved to Belvidere, IL with two other couples from South Dakota to work at the new Chrysler plant. They joined Zion Lutheran Church where they have continued to worship and have many good friends still today. After 3 days of working at Chrysler, he switched to Camcar in Belvidere, where he worked for 13 years.
He studied and received his A.S. in Engineering from Rock Valley College in 1983. With this degree and interest in computers since their early days, he became a draftsman and an early adopter of CAD software and worked for Sundstrand. In 1994, he started and ran a successful business called “Old House Repair” as a handyman until he retired in 2001. Following retirement he spent many years volunteering at local organizations including the Lions Club, The Boone County Museum of History, Youth groups at Zion Lutheran and others.
He was an excellent husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather; a good friend and neighbor, and happy to give of himself and his time to others. He will be missed greatly by his wife, family, friends, and all those who knew him.
A funeral service will be held at 10:00 a.m., Friday, August 4, 2017 at Zion Lutheran Church, 1300 Pearl St. Belvidere, IL 61008, with Rev. Scott Stolberg officiating. A visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., Thursday, August 3, 2017 at Anderson Funeral and Cremation Services, 218 W. Hurlbut Ave., Belvidere, IL 61008. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Zion Lutheran Church. To light a candle or share a condolence, please visit www.AndersonFCS.com.