IN LOVING MEMORY
Ernest Otto “Ernie” Graffunder
October 18, 1926 – October 24, 2015
In loving memory of our precious dad, husband, grandpa, brother, son, uncle, brother-in-law, co-worker and good friend.
Ernie was born October 18, 1926 to Karl and Margaret Graffunder in Jasper, Alberta. Ernie was from a family of 10 children; he had three brothers and six sisters.He lived in Lucerne at the CN Rail Station until the age of three, when he moved with his family by train to the Station House in Vavenby, where his father worked. Ernie attended school in Vavenby to Grade 8. After his dad passed away, Ernie moved with his mother and other siblings to Peavine, where they built their ranch.
Ernie worked in his teens and early 20s cutting poles and for the Clearwater Forest Service, as well as helping at home on the farm to support his mother and other children. His pay checks would go directly to his mom.
Ernie met Helen while working for Clearwater Timber Products (CTP). Helen was a waitress at the cookhouse where he would go for the occasional meal. He asked her out and eventually married Helen in 1953. They lived a wonderful, busy life together on the property Ernie purchased on Peavine Road, where he had the family home built. Nearby were the mobile home park he built along with the farm, which he loved and spent many hours on – clearing land, building, working, haying, chickens, pigs, beef cattle. – everything he loved and that provided meat on the table. He also had his woodlot. Not to mention everything else he was involved in – mining claims, tour bus company, trapping, blasting, beekeeping, his D8 Cats, welder/mechanic and a school board trustee for almost 30 years. Ernie stocked McCorvie Lake with trout when he was young and people still enjoy fishing there to this day. His actual job that he worked at for years was at CTP as a bush foreman.
They had four precious children; three sons and a daughter. He always said that he would never change anything and he enjoyed his busy life! Ernie always worked hard and trying something new. Some of his favourites, when asked, were packing with his pack train of horses, cruising timber, timber buyer, logging and air observer (which meant flying a lot in small planes) and, of course, his lifelong love for gardening, which he did from a very early age until he couldn’t get to the garden anymore. Ernie quite possibly had one of the best producing gardens in the valley! He was also an accomplished hunter and would usually get his deer and moose on opening day. Ernie always provided very well for his family – always lots of good food on the table. Once Ernie couldn’t get around so good anymore and accomplish something every day (which he always had to do), he wrote a book of memoirs.
When Ernie did take time to relax, he enjoyed camping and fishing, mostly in his favorite spot, Raft River Valley. He would catch a string of fresh trout and then at the end of the day he would fry them up with potatoes from his garden on the beautiful big cast frying pan he made out of cat parts! In earlier years he also enjoyed many trips out to Alberta camping with the Unterschultzes. Later he enjoyed his trips north to Alaska, Yukon, Caribou, Inuvik and even Churchill to see the polar bears. He also loved to spend time with his grandchildren, which he did frequently and whom he loved with all his heart.
Ernie left behind a multitude of friends as he was involved in so many different areas in the North Thompson Valley. His sons Doug (Janice), grandchildren Kelly and Nicole; Wally (Sugar), grandchildren Bob and Bonnie; and Hugh (Shelley), grandchildren Cory and Candice, and daughter Sandra (Ed), grandchildren Rod, Spencer and Marshall, plus all the spouses and great grandchildren. Of his siblings he left behind three sisters – Tessie, Margaret and his oldest sister Anne, who just turned 96.
The angels came to take Ernie to be with his beloved wife of 55 years Helen, his oldest grandson Keith, his mother and father, and his big brother Hans, who he lost in the war so many years ago.
Ernie gave up his fight for life Saturday morning, Oct. 24, 2015, when his tired old body gave up from all the years of hard work. He’s having a much deserved rest!
It will be hard to forget this man
who gave us so much to remember