John Ernst

Born in Cedar Rapids, IA
Born on Dec 27, 1939
Departed on Jan 15, 2021

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John “Jack” F. Ernst, 81 of Cedar Rapids died unexpectedly Friday January 15, 2021 at Mercy Medical Center. A private funeral mass will be held at the St. Jude Catholic Church. Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. The funeral Mass for Jack and Jeanette Ernst will be livestreamed on Thursday, January 21 at 10:00 AM. Go to St. Jude Church Cedar Rapids Youtube channel at: The family requests that only immediate family pray the Mass at the church. 

Jack was born December 27, 1939 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Floyd and Wilma (Parkan) Ernst.  In 1958, he was in the first graduating class of Cedar Rapids Thomas Jefferson High School, where at age 15 he met his best friend, his soul mate, the love of his life, Jeanette Thorson.  They were married on June 9, 1962 and were blessed with 57 wonderful years of marriage, 3 children and 8 grandchildren.  

He was a faithful husband, father, brother, neighbor and friend.  He attended the University of Iowa and worked at Harnischfeger, ultimately retiring from Rockwell Collins.  He humbly served in the Iowa National Guard.   

Jack loved nature and doing things outdoors, particularly yard work, hunting, fishing and yearly trips to Minnesota.  He enjoyed building things and working with his hands, for which he was very talented and gifted.  Jack was also a sports fan and loved watching games.  He was the ultimate helper, always there to lend a hand to anyone in need.  Jack was a common figure at Grateful Grannies, the charitable organization he and his wife founded many years before.  He always helped without complaint, happily, cheerfully and faithfully supporting others.  

Despite his many interests, church and family were the most important to him.  He was active in St. Jude Catholic Church for many years.  Jack loved his family and was devoted, strong and faithful to the very end.  He was the solid rock foundation that his family was built upon, and his love for them was unwavering and readily visible to all of those around him.  His gentle heart and kind spirit will be missed by all.       

Jack is survived by his son John (Maureen) Ernst of Cedar Rapids, Iowa;  daughters Joy (John) Fitzgerald of Dallas, Texas and Sherry Pilarczyk of Cedar Rapids, Iowa;  sister Judy Kindig of Cedar Rapids, Iowa;  brothers Gary (Mary) Ernst of Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Mike (Marcia) Ernst of Branson, Missouri;  grandchildren, Evan (Mindy) Ernst, Lillie Ernst, Ryan Fitzgerald, Brendan Fitzgerald, Jenna Fitzgerald, Daisy (Derek) Hanshaw, Mack Pilarczyk and Jamie Pilarczyk;  great-niece Stephanie (Clint) Fangman of Ely, Iowa;  longtime friend Tom Rosenberger of Cedar Rapids, Iowa;  numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.  He is preceded in death by his parents and beloved wife, whom he is undoubtedly rejoicing with today.

Memorial donations may be directed to “Grateful Grannies - Cedar Rapids Community School Foundation” at 2500 Edgewood Road NW. 

“Well done, good and faithful servant!”  Matthew 25:21.