St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Sheridan held a full sanctuary Monday morning as Robert Ernst was honored in a memorial service following the fatal shooting that took his life last Wednesday morning in his home. Sheridan Media's Mary Jo Johnson has more.
Normally, it is not our habit to report on funeral services, as all who die have significance to the loved ones they leave behind. But because of the circumstances behind Bob Ernst's death and the effect it has had on this entire community and beyond, I share some of the thoughts of yesterday's ceremony.
In a sanctuary filled with flowers, music and people who knew and loved Bob, Reverend Kevin Jones spoke of Bob being a wonderful man, a teacher, and one who took the Scriptures to heart.
He addressed Bob's business acumen, and that he consistently tried to do things well, whether it be learning to tool leather for saddles as a young man in his father's saddle-making shop, or running Rent-It-Center with his wife Linda for many years.
Reverend Jones joked about Bob's perfectionist trait that would come out when "helping" people park their cars correctly or that would be written in a little book that kept track of who's turn it was to pay for coffee in not one, but two coffee clubs to which he belonged in his retirement.
Bob was battling cancer at the time he was so violently taken, but Rev. Jones said Bob tried never to let his illness get him down, saying that when asked how he was doing, Bob would reply, 'gooder than good!'
Rev. Jones said that Bob's deep love for God and trying to do things to the best of his ability was for others' benefit -- Bob was always thinking of others' welfare and well-being. Bob saw people as being created by God in His image, to be respected and treated with dignity, and not coming out of some primordial soup. How ironic, Rev. Jones said, that Bob's life was allegedly taken by three boys who did not look on him with dignity and respect, but as someone with no value -- like the primordial soup.
Rev. Jones told Linda Ernst and her daughters that they are in for some tough days ahead, and exhorted the congregation to continue reaching out to the Ernsts and to others who have lost loved ones, not just in the next couple of weeks, but in the next few months and beyond. He ended by saying that because of Bob's great faith, the he's o.k. and "we're o.k., because we're going to walk through this together with you."