Ernest R. LaFave departed this world on Wednesday, September 18, 2019, at the age of 92 to seek the love of his life, Lucy. Born in Gwinn, MI on January 28, 1926 the son of Ernest J. and Gladys (Lamirand) LaFave. He was a graduate of Gwinn High School, earning his diploma after having been drafted into the US Army prior to graduation.
He served in the Pacific during World War II as a bomb and mine disposer, a position he held his entire tour of duty. He was awarded the Infantry Medal, the Asiatic Pacific ribbon, the Victory ribbon and Occupation of Japan ribbon. He was a lifetime member of the V.F.W. post 5670 in Gwinn. Upon returning from service unable to find employment, he decided to take advantage of the G.I. Bill earning a bachelor degree and teaching certification from Northern Michigan University. His first teaching position was with Dagget High School where he and his family remained for five years.
Moving to Escanaba with his family, he was employed with Escanaba Area Public Schools where he held several positions of his choice for 33 years. The positions he held included; Junior High Science instructor, driver education, director of Special Education, and elementary instructor. He always preferred the classroom. During all these years he continued his education earning several advanced degrees. He also held teaching certification from the states of California and Colorado. He was a member of the MEA, the NEA and other minor organizations. In 1990, both he and his wife Lucy retired and moved to Osier, MI for some time. Poor health forced them to return to Escanaba.
On March 31, 1951 he married the former Lucille “Lucy” Grondine at St. Francis Xavier Church in Spalding. They were married for 60 years and were always close to each other. They raised three successful sons. Ernest loved to travel out West, camping, hunting and fishing with the entire family.
Ernest is survived by his sons, Lawrence R. (Mary Pat Boyle) of Gladstone, Robert E. (Patricia Beveridge) of Gladstone and Matthew J. LaFave of Henderson, Nevada; seven grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren; his brother, L. James LaFave of Kanota, Ontario, Canada; his sisters, Phyllis Fairbanks of Minnesota and Arlene (Brent) Turner of Vermont; brother-in-law, Joseph Grondine of Escanaba; sister-in-law, Theresa Palomaki of Munising and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Lucy who passed on January 3, 2012, his brother Richard, his sister Beverly Smith, and great grandchildren Elijah and Ethan Hires.
The family will receive friends on Saturday, September 21 from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM at the Skradski Family Funeral Home in Escanaba. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 12:00 PM at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Wells with Fr. Rick Courier officiating. A luncheon will follow at parish hall. Ernest will be laid to rest in the Gardens of Rest Cemetery in Wells.