NAPLES, FLA. — Ernest Joseph Gelinas Jr. passed away on Dec. 15, 2014, under the compassionate care of Vitas Hospice in Naples, Fla. Ernie was born on March 14, 1939, in Port Jefferson, N.Y., and was raised in Springfield, Mass.
He eventually moved to East Longmeadow, Mass., with his wife, Judy, where they raised five children and lived for 38 years. He was a 1957 graduate of Cathedral High School in Springfield and a 1963 graduate of Western New England College. He went on to earn a Master’s degree in education from Westfield State College.
He retired to Surry after spending his entire career working for the state of Connecticut, initially at the state prison in Somers, and then in the vocational technical education system. He served as assistant director at Ella T. Grasso Southeastern Technical High School in Groton, then went on to become director at J.M. Wright Technical High School in Stamford and H.H. Ellis Technical High in Danielson. He founded the education council of the Connecticut State Employees Association, and served as president for several years.
Ernie was a devoted Catholic and was part of the first group of men commissioned to serve as extraordinary ministers for the diocese of Springfield. He was a fourth degree member of the Knights of Columbus in his various parishes. He served the town of Surry as selectman for one term, was a member of the Searsport/Bucksport Chapter of the Propeller Club of the United States, and a proud Lifetime Member of the National Rifle Association.
In 1960, Ernie married his childhood sweetheart Judith Ann Mitchell, his friend and companion since fourth grade. In addition to Judy, “Babe” (as he was affectionately known by his wife and family) is survived by his brothers, Phillip and James: and sister, Eneda Armour. The children and grandchildren Ernie leaves behind include his son, Daniel and his wife, Denise, of Tucson, Ariz., and their children, Danielle and Nathan; David and his wife, Rae-Ann from Penobscot and their children, Charlotte and Noah; Christopher of Livonia, Mich.; Elizabeth Gelinas-Rivera and son, Jacob, in San Antonio, Texas; and Andrew “Drew” Gelinas of Stowe, Vt.
Ernie’s family wishes to extend their deepest appreciation to the dedicated staff at Vitas Hospice IPU for their extraordinary assistance during his final days. We would especially like to remember Connie and Nydia, who became our “special angels.”
A funeral Mass and inurnment will be held 2 p.m. Jan. 9, 2015, at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Naples. Those wishing to make an expression of sympathy in Ernie’s memory are asked to consider The Alzheimer’s Support Network, 660 Tamiami Trail North, Suite 21, Naples, FL 34102; or St. Peter the Apostle Church at 5130 Rattlesnake Hammock Rd., Naples, FL 34113. Online condolences may be made at www.fullernaples.com.