Ernest Henry Hardaway
Birth Date: February 2, 1938
Death Date: December 20, 2018
Ernest, affectionately known by family as “Brother”, “Uncle Brother” or “Big Ernie,” was the baby boy and 7th sibling born, Feb. 2, 1938, to loving parents, Mack Hardaway and Addie K. Wilson in Waelder, Texas. He attended Ralph Bunch School and later received a double Associates Degree in Selective Studies and Business Administration.
At 16 years old, Ernest enlisted into the U.S. Navy, serving 15 years as a Marine Mechanic. During tours of duty, in both Korea and Republic of Vietnam, he attained the rank of Chief Petty Officer. He was awarded the Good Conduct Medal (4th Award), National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, and Meritorious Unit Commendation. After faithful and honorable service, Ernest retired and began his 2nd career in civil service working in air conditioning and refrigeration for the U.S. Navy Public Works Center in San Diego, CA.
In 1960, while stationed out of Norfolk, VA, he met and married Geneva Shipp Hardaway. Geneva, who proceeded him in death, Jun. 23, 2002, was at the time an elementary school teacher working in Powhatan, VA. Their union was blessed with one son, Ernest H. Hardaway Jr.; and two daughters, Toni A. Hardaway and Pamela A. Hardaway.
Ernest, always a good listener, dedicated much of his time to others. He shared his infinite wisdom, loyal friendship, unwavering faith in the Lord and his desire for all around him to live abundantly. He possessed an uncanny ability to be of service, love others, forgive, and “break bread” with family and friends. He excelled at preparing smoked brisket, chicken and ribs, mustard greens; and chicken with dumplings. Some of his favorite meals were salmon croquettes with grits, catfish, short ribs, liver with onion; and greens with hotwater cornbread!
Over the years, Ernest spent much of his time camping and fishing with family and friends. He even joined the Bass Club of San Diego, where one of his greatest joys was time spent with friends who shared the love of fishing. They would, at times, campout overnight sharing stories of the past and deepening their already solidified long-lasting friendships.
He consistently attended school and family reunions in Texas (often with his “side-kick/sister” Maryann Chamberlain). Later in life, he became an avid traveler, visiting many distant and exotic locations; such as Alaska, New Zealand, and South Africa with his “best friend” Fannie Mae Woodson of Portland, OR.
Most instrumental in his life was his personal relationship with the Lord. His daily ritual was prayer, reading his Bible and exercising on his stationary bike -in that order! One of his daily prayers was for each of his children to have their own personal relationship with the Lord. Ernest was a faithful member of Mt. Erie Baptist Church, where he regularly participated in Sunday School, Wednesday PUSH Service and Friday Night Bible Study. He’d only miss classes if fishing or out of town. Ernest was a devoted member of the Pastor Aide Committee, Benevolent Committee, Men’s Choir, and Men’s Retreat.
On Dec. 19, 2018, the Lord called one of his favored children home. Ernest will forever live and remain in the hearts of those left behind: Children – Ernest Jr., Toni and Pam; Step-daughter-Tangela Shipp-Oliver; Sister- iz (Dupree); and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends. Ernest was preceded in death by: Sisters – Addie and Annie; Brothers – Will, Mount, Turner and Dee.