Walter N. Ernst, 80

-April 4, 2012

April 06, 2012
  • Ernst

Walter N. Ernst, 80, of Oakland, Maine, loving husband of Susan J. Ernst, died April 4, 2012, at Thayer Hospital, Waterville, Maine.

He was born in 1931 in Hagerstown, Md., the son of Walter N. Sr. and Alma Marie (Beard) Ernst. He was raised in Richmond, Va., and Baltimore, and was a graduate of Baltimore City College and the University of North Carolina. At UNC, he was inducted into the Order of the Old Well scholarship society, lettered in varsity lacrosse for four years and was a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.

After serving as a junior officer in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1953 to 1956, he began his career in advertising with J.Walter Thompson Co. in New York City. From 1960 to 1964, he was a production assistant and associate producer with ABC Television in New York City. He also co-produced several off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway plays during this period.

He moved to Maine in 1964 as an account manager with the Ad-Media advertising agency in Augusta. From 1966 to 1969, he was a public relations representative for Central Maine Power Co., and from 1969 to 1983 was director of public relations and development for Thayer Hospital, and after its merger with Seton Hospital, for the Mid-Maine Medical Center in Waterville. Thereafter, he was self-employed as a public relations and fundraising consultant, and worked for the U.S. Department of Labor as an economic assistant with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, retiring in 1993.

He was accredited by the Public Relations Society of America and the New England Association of Hospital Development.

Walt was an avid skier at Sugarloaf USA for more than 40 years, past president of the Abnaki Ski and Outing Club, past commander of the Kennebec River Sail & Power Squadron and an honorary life member of the United States Power Squadrons. He taught adult education courses in seamanship and navigation in adult education programs in Augusta, Waterville and other central Maine high schools for 35 years. In his retirement years, he spent summers at Sandy Neck in Barnstable, Mass., a barrier beach on Cape Cod, where he had been a director and president of the Sandy Neck Colony Association.

He was a communicant at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Augusta and served on its vestry and as junior warden for many years.

Surviving are his wife, Susan, of 47 years; two sons, Christopher "Skip" Ernst and his wife, Rachel, of Sidney, and James Ernst and his wife, Tonia, of Westbrook; and two grandsons, Evan and Pierce Ernst of Windham.

A memorial service will be at St. Mark's Church, Augusta, on April 21 at 2 p.m. Donations in Walt's name may be made to the Sandy Neck Colony Association Legal Fund, c/o Pam Brown, P.O. Box 729, 82 Lombard Ave., West Barnstable, MA 02668

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