Ernest “Shorty” LaFave, age 89, of Mildred Avenue, Marquette and formerly of Munising, died following a brief illness on Tuesday evening, June 5, 2007 at Marquette General Hospital. He was born on October 30, 1917 in Munising to William and Elizabeth (Hebert) LaFave. Ernie graduated from Sacred Heart School and Wm. G. Mather High School. He served in the CCC’s from August 1935 until September 1936 and was discharged as “an excellent and willing worker of excellent ability.” Ernie began fulltime employment with the Munising Paper Company in 1936. He married Katherine “Katie” Dougherty on November 28, 1942.
Ernie served in the U.S. Army’s 398th Signal Company during WWII in the Asiatic Pacific Theater. He was involved in battles and campaigns in the Northern Solomons, Bismark Archipelago, and the Western Pacific. Ernie earned the WWII Victory Medal, Theater Ribbon with 3 Bronze Battle Star, Good Conduct Medal, and four Overseas Service Bars. After the War, Ernie returned to his family in Munising and to his job at the Munising Paper Company. In 1947, he was promoted to bookkeeper and progressed through the department. In 1974, Ernie was promoted to accounting services supervisor. He retired from Kimberly Clark on January 1, 1982 after completing over 45 years of employment. After retirement, Ernie and Katherine moved to Marquette. They were married over fifty-five years when she preceded him in death on March 24, 1998. Ernie was a member of St. Christopher’s Church in Marquette, and a former member Sacred Heart and the Knights of Columbus in Munising. He was a family man and enjoyed playing in a local cribbage league and loved to walk.
Ernie is survived by his children – Ernest (Marjorie) LaFave, Jr. of Venice, FL, Kristine (Vince) Fromm of Rochester, MI, Colleen (Jim) Butsic of Iron River, MI, and Marilyn (Frank) Herveat of Marquette; five grandchildren – Katey Fromm, Howard (Carrie) Fromm, John (May) Butsic, Joe Butsic, and Derek Herveat; three great-granddaughters – Chelsea, Stephanie, and Lilly; brother – Lawrence “Stowe” (Maxine) LaFave of Munising; sisters – Ruth Carr and Jean Paananen both of Munising; sister-in-law – Norma LaFave of Munising; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, wife Katherine, siblings Jack and Robert “Mogie” LaFave, Derilda Tussing, Exilda Theaker, Dorothy Swajanen, and infant twins Gerald and Geraldine.
Visitation will be held at the Bowerman Funeral Home on Sunday evening from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. A Parish Vigil Service is tentatively set for 7:00 p.m. Father Chris Gardiner will celebrate a Mass of Christian Burial on Monday, June 11, 2007 at 10:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church in Munising. Interment will be at the Maple Grove Cemetery in Munising where the Alger County Veterans Council and American Legion Honor Guard will conduct military honors.