Donald L. Ernst

August 19, 1935January 22, 2019

Donald L. Ernst, 83, of Springfield, IL passed away on January 22, 2019 in Ocala, FL.

Donald was born on August 19, 1935 in Quincy, IL, the son of Earl and Dorthea (Wilcox) Ernst. He graduated from Quincy High School class of 1953 and received his Bachelor of Science in Education from Western Illinois University in 1958.

He was a school teacher for the Springfield School District 186 for over three decades, retiring in 1985. His students still remember him, for his dedication to teaching, and would often approach him when they saw him out in the community.

Donald’s life-long love of exploring and traveling led him across the country on many adventures, which he shared with family and friends. After his retirement, he filled his days with volunteer work for various community organizations and helped build a remote section of the Pacific Crest Trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. He shared his love of the outdoors and hiking with his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. He was a life-long true blue Chicago Cubs fan through thick and thin.

He is survived by his son Robert (Renae) Ernst of Palmyra, IL; his daughter Julie (Tim) Sullivan of Estes Park, CO; 6 grandchildren: Jeremy (Heather Meyers) Szabo, Amie Szabo (Brett Beck), Hannah (Andrew) Draughan, Kyle Szabo, Samuel (Amy) Ernst, and Grace (Korey) Green; four great grandchildren: Cali, Ty, Sydney, and Lydia; his brother Dwayne (Pat) Ernst of FL; and his dear friend of 33 years, Kate Kanaley-Miller.

He is preceded in death by his parents Earl and Dorthea Ernst, son Phillip Ernst, and sister Sandra Ernst.

Services will be at Bisch & Son Funeral Home, 2931 S. Koke Mill Rd, Springfield, IL on Friday, February 8th, 2019. Visitation will be at 9:00am where friends and family are invited to share their memories and stories of Don. A memorial service will immediately follow the visitation at 10:00am. A private inurnment for family will be at Greenmount Cemetery in Quincy, IL.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The National Park Foundation or the Central Illinois Community Blood Center.

Please visit the online obituary at where tributes and condolences may be left for the family.


  • The National Park Foundation
  • The Central Illinois Community Blood Center


  • Memorial Visitation Friday, February 8, 2019
  • Memorial Service Friday, February 8, 2019

Donald L. Ernst

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Cheryl Boede

January 29, 2019

I remember Mr. Ernst fondly from Springfield High, I had great respect for him. Prayers for his family at this sad time.