- 78 years old
- Date of birth: Oct 8, 1935
- Place of birth:
Pulaskifield, Missouri, United States
- Date of passing: Aug 10, 2014
- Place of passing:
Hackettstown, New Jersey, United States
|Let the memory of Ernest be with us forever|
Ernest Dennis Perch was born on October 8, 1935 in Pulaskifield, Missouri. He was the second child (first son) of Clarence and Sophie Perch. This little family would go on to have seven children in all which is kind of unthinkable in this day and age. He had four sisters, Delores "Doady" ( married to Lawrence Abromovitz), Mary Ann (married to Ray Waski, John Orr), Loretta (married to Dennis Lowe), and Elizabeth "Betty" (married to John Perkins), and two brothers, Frank (married to Judy Cherry) & Gary (married to Debbie Fritz). He is survived by his youngest sisters and two brothers and numerous nieces and nephews.
He had an eighth grade education when that really meant something and had a lifelong love of reading, so much so that one of his grand children used to say, "I can't wait until I'm old and can just sit around and read all of the time." When he was about 16 he went to live with an Uncle in Kansas City to work on the rail road so that he could send money home to his family and so he could get off the farm. Later he would travel to Ohio to learn to be a tree surgeon. When he finished his training the company placed him in Davie Tree Company, Morristown, NJ.
Shortly after relocating on the east coast his longtime sweetheart (Anna Mae Ghan) came to Morristown herself and they were married within a couple of weeks. She was 20 and he was 18. He would always joke that she had "robbed the cradle." I recently asked him what was the happiest time of his life and, although he had trouble verbalizing his thoughts, without hesitation he said, "When I got married." They would go on to have two children, Lynne (married to George Rutledge) and Mark (married to Randi DiNitzio), eight grandchildren, Derrick Rutledge (married to Rebekah Ferrara), Cara Rutledge , Amy Rutledge (married to Christopher Templeton), Sarah Perch (married to Matthew Hurff), Ashley Perch, Andrew Rutledge (married to Hannah Fox), Alexis Perch, and Kaitlin Perch and three great grandchildren, Gracie & Juliana Templeton and Austin Melick. Family was always a big part of their lives. Both Ann and Ernie had a special relationship with their children and grand children.
Ernie worked at being a tree surgeon for a couple of years but when his son was born he needed more than a seasonal job to support his family. There was a nearby mechanic named Eddie Gill that took Ernie and a few others under his wing and taught them all he knew about auto mechanics. With a couple of years under his belt he branched out and opened his own service station in Morristown under the Texaco sign. He made contacts and his business grew but, not fast enough for him. He relocated to a better location in Morristown on Speedwell Avenue under the Cities Service/Citgo sign and flourished for quite a few years. The car dealer needed room to expand so he needed a new location. He moved his business to Mt. Arlington, NJ just on top of where Bertram's Island Amusement Park used to be. It was a brand new Chevron station and although this would prove to be a set back financially, he made some very good friends in this location and his reputation as a mechanic was getting around. By 1970 he would relocate once again to Dover, NJ and set up shop under the Gulf sign. He had finally found his niche; the location was right and there was plenty of mechanic business as well as a thriving gas station. He would stay in this location until 1983.
Ernie's life took a dramatic change in 1982. With the support of his wife and children and the hope of seeing his grandchildren grow up he entered Alcoholic Anonymous. He always chose wisely who he would share this information with when he was alive but, I don't think he'd mind me sharing it here since it made such an impact on his life. He never talked very much about this time in his life but that organization saved his life and it was as though he was starting all over again. I can remember him saying that everything looked so "new" to him and that even simple pleasures took on new meaning for him. He sold the service station that he and Mark ran together and moved on to a new business.
A&E Transportation was born in 1984. Ann quit her job at Elastimold in Hackettstown, NJ and together they transported mentally handicapped children back and forth to school every day for about the next ten years. They played an active role in grand parenting and made a huge impact on the lives of their grandchildren. They both liked to travel and spent several vacations in Nashville, TN since they both had a love for country music. Through the years the Jersey shore was a favorite get away for the whole family. Running your own business didn't leave much time for vacations but the shore was only a couple of hours away. A day at the beach could revive his soul and clean out the grease under his fingernails. Is it any wonder that he would retire close to it?
Retirement brought another set of options into the picture. Ernie & Ann would travel back to their native home in Missouri and then through Arkansas and even take a visit to FL when trying to find a place to make their last homestead. They both decided (with a little help from their children & grandchildren) that the New Jersey shore was the farthest they wanted to move away from their family. They have lived for the past 18 years in Toms River, NJ. Like Earn used to say, "Come on down...the sun always shines in TR." In his retirement he still worked. For a time he worked pumping gas and then took a stint at being a taxi driver and then he once again found his niche. He drove single parents and their kids to school and work. Wherever he worked he was well liked and brought a sense of fun and adventure with him. The parents liked him but, the kids LOVED him.
Ernie always had a soft spot in his heart for animals and kids. He always rooted for the underdog because I think he saw himself as an underdog. His favorite teams were the NY Jets for football and the NY Mets for baseball. I can remember going to see the Mets in 1969 during their "Amazing" season. His farming roots never left him, he always had a garden and even in Toms River when he had to fight off the deer by making cages for all of his plants he never gave up. There's nothing like a Jersey tomato but, he did concede that a Pennsylvania tomato would do in a pinch.
Throughout their lives together and through all of the ups and downs Ernie & Ann loved each other and helped each other for almost 60 years. He passed 11 days before their 60th wedding anniversary on August 10, 2014. He will be sorely missed by family and friends and all of the lives he's touched throughout his life. He may have started life out as an underdog but he's overcome many obstacles to become an overcomer. He was strong to the finish without ever complaining. He was always a source of encouragement and joy. His humor will live on through his friends, children, and grand children because we can still hear him doling out his words of whit and wisdom to all of us. Rest in peace knowing you gave us your best, Ernie, Dad, Pop, G-Pop. We will always love and remember you.
"Even though I did not know Mr. Perch for that long I did have the pleasure of getting to know him a little more each week when I saw him. What will always stay with me is even when he was sick and in pain he always had a smile on his face and something funny (usually sarcastic) to say to the nurses who took care of him. He was a good person and will be missed by many. Hugs to the family."
"Ann, Mark, and Lynne
I was so sorry to hear about Uncle Ernie. I will always remember the times you all came to visit. It was always a big deal in our family. We always had so much fun when our families got together. The bbq's, picnics, and trips to the lake were some of the best times we ever had. Sometimes I would just hang around and listen to dad, uncle ernie, uncle ray, and uncle frank tell stories and I would laugh till my sides hurt. Boy could those guys put away the chinina! I am so sorry we lost touch over the years. I just want you to know that I love you all and Lisa is right, there is a very happy reunion going on. Love you guys.
"What I remember most about Uncle Ernie was his broad smile, and his laugh--and he didn't just smile and laugh with his mouth, but also with his eyes, and I loved that!! Gosh, it's probably been 25+ years since I've seen any of you, but when we were young, I remember talking about our relatives with "the accent" LOL!!! I am sure he, mom and dad, Aunt Dody, Barbara, Grandma Sophie,and Grandpa are whooping it up in Heaven! :-) Aunt Ann, Mark, Lynne, and families, may your memories bring you joy, comfort, and peace...
I love you all ( even the ones I haven't met!)
Much love from Missouri,
Lisa Wasky Green"
I've been reading this everyday and each time I marvel at something different. Today the pictures just really have special meaning for me. I love looking at them and remembering the laughter,the "good times",the progression of life by all and the smiles. Love you all so much."
"So wonderful to read this beautiful tribute to your father. I have many happy memories of time spent with your family. Love to all."
"Dear Lynne - It is heart-warming to read about your Dad. He did the Dad things well. Really well. No wonder you love him!"
I did not know your Dad and your extended family, but, through your wonderful tribute, I feel like I have a beautiful glimpse into the life of this special man and your family too. Simply beautiful. ((Hugs and prayers for your family to find peace and comfort in the memories and legacy left behind))
-Love, Annette Buss"
"What a great story about your mom and dad. What beautiful memories."
"Dear Ann and Families,
What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful person! I will write more later when I share this with all the others. Much love to you all."
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