Jean Ernst, a long-time resident of Vashon passed away at Vashon Community Care on Monday, June 3rd almost eight months after a festive celebration of her 100th birthday. Born on September 10, 1918, in St. Peter, MN, to Fred and Sophia Schmitt, she led an adventurous life and was known for her strong sense of humor and a practical, forward-looking view of life.
In the early part of the depression, the family moved to Duluth where she attended high school. Jean then moved to Minneapolis, graduated from the University of Minnesota and went to work as a service representative for the phone company. In 1942, she married her first husband, Leon J. Zimmerman whom she had met in high school. They had a son, Robert (Bob) before Leon was killed in WWII. Still in Minneapolis, Jean married Frank Ernst and they had a daughter, Martha. Leaving everyone she knew, Jean and family moved to Vashon in 1949 where daughter Libby and son Chip were born, and the family grew up. Later in life, Jean lived in Nova Scotia, Canada, the island of Molokai in Hawaii, where she became a partner to Jack Dunham, and Sequim before returning to Vashon. When asked which of these places she liked the best she would quickly respond “Lisabuela”.
Jean was preceded in death by her parents, two husbands, partner, son Chip and grandson Chris Williams. She is survived by son Bob Ernst (Pat), daughters Martha Ernst and Libby Hirshberg (Bill), six grandchildren Todd Williams (Janet), Aaron Ernst (DeVonne), Emily Williams (Loren), Ryan Ernst (Miia), Katie Moeller (Chris)and Tim Hirshberg (Melissa), and six great-grandchildren Madison Chapman, Moses Chapman, Dillon Stream, Avery Moeller, Zoe Moeller and Charlie Hirshberg.
As a memorial, the family is working with the Vashon Park District with the goal of building a picnic shelter at the Lisabuela Park because Liasbuela was where the family lived most of their years on Vashon. They hope to have more information soon.