Mr. Ernst spent his career in the wholesale candy and tobacco industry, working many years as a salesman and eventually retiring as general manager of Weeke Wholesale Co. Les was a World War II Army veteran, drafted out of high school, and a Purple Heart recipient. He enjoyed golf and traveling coast to coast with his wife in their travel trailer. He also enjoyed home improvement projects and treasured time spent with his wife, children, and grandchildren. Les was a faithful parishioner of St. Peter’s Cathedral Catholic Church for over 60 years.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Martin L. and Lucille, nee Dammrich, Ernst; a granddaughter, Paige Karlas; a brother, Raymond M. Ernst; a sister, Louise Pyszka; and numerous brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.
Surviving are his wife of 63 years, Audrey B., nee Kimmich, Ernst, whom he married on May 26, 1956, in St. Louis, MO;
two sons, Ron (Phyllis) Ernst of Belleville, IL,
and Gregg (Mary) Ernst of Oakville, MO;
four daughters, Janet (Jim) Eilering of Sacramento, CA,
Carol (Dean) Elder of Millstadt, IL,
Nancy (David) Schmidt of Smithton, IL,
and Diane (Aaron) Karlas of Edwardsville, IL.
Also surviving are 21 grandchildren, Stephanie (Knute) Schneider, Allen (Rebecca) and Nicholas Ernst, Abigail (Brad) Rolland, Kayla (Max) Klein, Ryan, Jason (Sarah) and Andrea Ernst, Brooke (John) Topete, Jared (Charity) and Austin Eilering, Lindsey (Steven) Rodriquez, Ashley (Tyler) Mueth, Erica Elder, Justin, Jeremy and Jenna Schmidt, Grant, Luke, Olivia and Audrey Karlas;
and numerous nieces & nephews;
Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, St. Peter’s Cathedral, to Freeburg Care Center, or in the form of masses at St. Peter’s Cathedral. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.rennerfh.com.
Visitation: Friends may visit with the family from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday, October 13, 2019, at George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, 120 North Illinois, Belleville, IL, or from 9 to 10 a.m. Monday, October 14, 2019, at St. Peter’s Cathedral Catholic Church, 200 West Harrison Street, Belleville, IL.
Funeral: A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. Monday, October 14, 2019, St. Peter’s Cathedral Catholic Church, Belleville, IL, with Msgr. John Myler officiating.
Burial with military honors will be at Green Mount Catholic Cemetery, 679 South Green Mount Road, Belleville, IL.