July 19, 1925 ~ July 12, 2010

Born in: Pontiac, Michigan,
Resided in: Asheville, NC

Don Ernst, affectionately known as "Lefty" by his YMCA friends, died unexpectedly on Monday, July 12, 2010. He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Viola Ernst and brother Verne J. Ernst.They were natives of Pontiac, MI. Following high school, Mr. Ernst played baseball and was recommended by the Brooklyn Dodgers Farm System for his outstanding ability. He was a member of the Association of Professional Ball Players of America. He met Jean when he was playing for the Asheville Tourists in 1946 and they were married in 1949. His business ventures included managing parking lots in Pontiac and Asheville Parking. He owned and operated Quality Vending Company in Asheville until his retirement in 1986. A member of Calvary Baptist Church, he started a Nursing Home Music Ministry with some church members and they entertained for over 20 years. He loved to sing and volunteered every week in different locations. Don and Jean learned to square dance and enjoyed it immensly. They belonged to an Airstream Club and, in these two hobbies, they met some wonderful people. Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Jean Spivey Ernst; three sons, Larry M. Ernst (Charmaine) of Winter Springs, FL, Ron L. Ernst of Jacksonville, FL and Randy S. Ernst of Asheville; two grandchildren, Chimene Kalinowski (Mike) of Oviedo, FL and Adrian Ernst of Asheville; two great-granddaughters, Breanna and Alexis Kalinowski of Oviedo; three nephews, Jon David Spivey of Asheville, Dick Ernst and David Ernst (Janet) of MI and a niece, Emily Ernst. Funeral services will be 2:00 pm Friday at Calvary Baptist Church with the Revs. Dr. Tom Sawyer and Donald Welborn officiating. Interment will follow at Green Hills Cemetery with Carl Frady, Joe Spivey, Colin Austin, Lynn Moore, Irwin Weil and Don Swaim serving as pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers are Regi Blackburn, Churck Cline, Larry Walker and Jim Truett. His family will receive friends from 1:00-2:00 prior to the service at the church.

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  1. I enjoyed setting and listening to Don as he would talk about his days he played baseball.I also loved to hear him sing.My late sister-in-law would ask every chance if he would sing her favorite for her and he knew right away which one she wanted to hear now he can sing it for her again.I’m going to miss him as will many others.
    Love to the family.

  2. I am a friend of Randy and very sorry to hear about the loss of his father. I only met Mr. Ernst a few times but he seemed like a great guy and I am sure will be greatly missed.

  3. Dear Family, Circumstances prevent me from attending Lefty’s rites.

    Just wanted to pass along memories of the many hours we spent together at the YMCA playing handball and chatting about the world in general.

    My deepest condolences.


  4. Jean, I just wanted you to know that you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers during this time. I know that I can speak for those of us that go to sing at the nursing homes and Don’s presents will be missed.

  5. Don will be greatly missed by all of us at Emerald Ridge. We pray that God will comfort Jean, Ronnie, and the rest of the Ernst family. Don was a faithful servant of our Lord, and was a blessing to me.

  6. You were such a special person! I remember your faithfulness coming each month to the nursing home with your music ministry. What a blessing! Your loss was of great sorrow to me, Mike and Michaela. Mike and Michaela just adore you and Jean deeply! We shall miss you greatly!

  7. We will miss Mr. Ernst here at Aston Park Health Care Center. We will not forget his loyalty and dedication throughout the years as he would come and sing for our residents. He brought a lot of sunshine to our residents. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. Marsha Kaufman, Administrator


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