Russell C. Ernest of Greenbank, Wash., passed away unexpectedly on June 27, 2019, with his wife, Debra Richardson, by his side.
Russ, the youngest child of Roland and Regina Ernest grew up in Plainville, Conn., and graduated in 1967. He left home in 1969 to serve in the Vietnam War. Russ was wounded twice and received two Purple Hearts. Upon returning home to Connecticut in 1970, he began a career in the plumbing industry and eventually progressed to become a plant facilities engineer with the State of Connecticut Department of Corrections. In 2003, Russ and Debra retired to Whidbey Island.
He carried his gift of mechanical and building talents with him throughout his retirement, tirelessly maintaining his and other’s boats, cars and properties. He was a modest person who never refused to lend a helping hand if someone needed assistance with a project, advice or support.
Russ was an avid reader, appreciator of all types of music and enjoyed sharing multiple outdoor activities with friends and family including boating, skiing, hiking, biking, fishing, hunting and tending his oyster beds. He was a founder and one of the early commodores of the South Whidbey Yacht Club. Russ had an amazing sense of humor with a repertoire of jokes and limericks to prove it. He also loved his many canine companions with whom he shared his life over the years. He was a loyal and trusted friend and he will be missed by all of those whose lives he touched.
Russ is survived by his wife Debra Richardson; sisters Marty Plona and Judy Pratt; sister-in-law Sherry and her husband Jim; niece Hannah; nephew Simon; his brother-in-law Paul; and father-in-law Don. All are of Washington state.
A memorial service honoring his life will be held 4-5:30 p.m. Aug 3 at the couple’s home. A private reception will follow.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor Russ’s memory may make donations in his name to Enso House, 6339 Wahl Road, Freeland, WA 98249, where he spent countless hours volunteering his expertise and services; or to the Whidbey Veterans Resource Center 723 Camano Ave., Langley, WA 98260, whose volunteers have provided countless services to Russ and others who have served our country.