August 8, 1930 - June 29, 2021
August 8, 1930 -June 29, 2021
Ernie Wolf was born to Joe and Mary Wolfe on August 8th, 1930. Mary delivered Ernie in a small farmhouse on his great uncle’s farm and Joe’s mother, Cecilia, was midwife.
Ernie ran around with buddies and worked from the age of 14 on. He worked at a gas station in Mandan when he met Tillie. Ernie’s buddy Elmer introduced the two when they went to eat at a cafe that Tillie worked at. Tillie didn’t think too much of Ernie at first, but when Ernie entered the Navy and asked if he could write to Tillie, she agreed. Ernie lied about his age and entered the Navy around his 17th birthday in 1947. He completed boot camp in September 1947 and soon after was stationed in Norfolk on the USS Cone. The USS Cone saw peace-keeping duty in the Mediterranean during much of its time in 1948-1950.
Ernie left the Navy and returned home in May 1950. He made a detour to Michigan to witness the Catholic marriage between Tillie’s sister Mary to Robert Lundberg. When they returned home, Ernie asked Tillie to marry him and on August 8th, 1950, Ernie’s 20th birthday, he married Tillie Scholl.
At first they lived in a small travel trailer on the banks of the Missouri river. Ernie had trouble finding a job in North Dakota after the war, so Ernie and Tillie brought their 2 month old son, Dennis, out to Portland to look for work in May 1953. They drove a 1941 Plymouth with a small trailer behind.
Ernie and Tillie stayed in a small motel off of 130th and Halsey. Ernie started working at Nikolai door, but then the company closed for summer vacation and Ernie lost his job. Ernie then went to work for Greyhound, refurbishing busses. However, that company moved to California and Ernie was left without work again.
The Wolf’s left Portland in a snowstorm and returned to North Dakota. Along the way, they rented a motel with a garage to keep the Plymouth warm. When they arrived in North Dakota it was -40 degrees below zero.
The trailer hitch broke in St. Regis- and a county substation man welded the hitch with an acetylene torch. It took him one hour to weld the bolt due to the temperature.
When they arrived in North Dakota they stayed with Grandparents. They lived in Mandan. Ernie applied at a refinery. They stayed 1 month, and then Mary Lundberg called from Michigan. “Come out here, there are lots of jobs”.
So, they moved to Michigan. At first they stayed with Mary, and then rented a house. Ernie worked with Jim Muir @ Henderson Tire Company in Detroit. Their son Bruce was born in November 1954. After Henderson, Ernie worked for a German Upholsterer, he apprenticed with a carpenter, he worked for 3 or 4 different places. Then Ernie moved to Al’s Glass and Auto Supply. He took his time and learned his trade.
After Karen was born, they got the itch to return to Portland. The Wolfs moved back to Portland in 1964.
During this period the boys, including Ernie, enjoyed Boy Scouts, camping, riding motorcycles and learning to scuba dive. Ernie became a NAUI Certified diver in 1971. He became a Charter Member of the Portland Sea Searchers Club and enjoyed many weekends diving with family and friends. Ernie and Tillie also enjoyed dances out in Carver with the Schmidt’s, leaving the kids at home with “Banquet” dinners.
In the late 60’s Ernie and Tillie bought land at the coast. In 1980, they spent every weekend for one year at the coast clearing and building a small home with the help of the boys and other family members. Ernie was always up for beachcombing or clam digging. Ernie also enjoyed a rousing game of pinochle.
In 1978 Ernie and Tillie bought Parkrose Glass Company. Ernie worked very hard days and evenings to make the business work. Tillie helped by assisting with bookkeeping and eventually front office work. Ernie’s motto was “Call Ernie” for fast and fair service. Ernie always made sure to pay himself first and took home a paycheck of $200.00 each week.
During the ‘80s, Ernie and Tillie spent many vacations traveling to weddings for all their nieces and nephews. Family was important to both of them. Ernie “Bagged It” in 1993 and continued traveling with Tillie and others all across the United States. Ernie joined the “Tin Can Sailors” and had many reunions with old shipmates from his Navy days. Each year the reunion was held in a different East Coast city. Each year Ernie and Tillie attended and made a point of seeing family along the way.
Ernie began researching his family tree with his sister Irene in the late ‘90s. They found a branch of the Wolf family that left North Dakota and settled in Saskatchewan, Canada. After Canada, they immigrated to the Willamette Valley and have been farming here for decades. Ernie was excited to find family in his “backyard”. Ernie and Tillie attended family reunions in the summer. Most of August was spent celebrating their anniversary, Dad’s birthday, a family reunion in Salem, then Bellingham, then gathering for Labor Day weekend at their beach house.
Ernie and Tillie bought a small place in Yuma, Arizona in the 2000’s. They would go to Arizona in the fall, return for Christmas and then head back down after New Years’. They met up with the Canadian snow-birders, enjoyed Rita and Harry’s company (always a pinochle game), golfing with Carlene and Jim, and spent frequent time with Ed and Delores.
Ernie lived a full life for a scrappy kid who only made it thru eighth grade. With Tillie by his side they traveled to all 50 states, Mexico and Canada.
A celebration of life will be held September 12, 2021 from 1-5:00pm at Omega Funeral Service at 223 SE 122nd Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97233.