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Ernest "Ernie" Leo Crippen

Ernest "Ernie" Leo Crippen

Ernest "Ernie" Leo Crippen of Tenstrike died on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, at the Mala Strana nursing facility in New Prague, MN.

He was born July 1, 1922, in Hartford, SD. He witnessed many of the massive changes that took place during the 20th century.

One of those major events was World War II. Ernie enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942 and was assigned to a SeaBees unit that traveled to Guadalcanal, where he experienced close combat. When the Japanese surrendered in Aug. 1945, his ship was dispatched to Japan for postwar recovery. During his time there, he explored the ruins of Nagasaki. He finished his naval career in the Kodiak islands before being honorably discharged in June 1948. Getting to meet Bob Hope at a USO event was a highlight of his military years.

His life adventures did not end there. He returned to civilian life, and in 1951 began work with the Minnesota Highway Department (now MNDOT), where he stayed until retiring in 1985. While working there, he joined a carpool that included a certain young woman named Dora Beck. Soon they were courting, which often took the form of Dora waiting for him to finish his moonlighting shift bartending at the Tenstrike Bar before going over to Bess's Steakhouse for dinner. They were married in July 1959. Dora had a son, Michael "Mike" Frickstad, from a previous marriage, and Ernie embraced him as his own son. A few years later, their daughter Amy was born.

Ernie was never one for sitting around twiddling his thumbs. Besides a demanding job as soils engineer with MNDOT, he and Dora ran a wedding photography business for many years. Ernie also hunted, trapped, and fished, and every year raised an enormous garden. When he retired from MNDOT, he was so busy that he wondered how he ever had time to work. He took up woodcarving and scrollsaw crafts, and every day the weather was fit, he started his day with a two-mile walk. He and Dora traveled extensively, including a much-loved trip to Hawaii, and they enjoyed visiting casinos all over Minnesota.

When Dora was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and needed more care than could be provided at home, she and Ernie moved to Buffalo, MN to be closer to Mike. Dora passed away in April 2013, after nearly 54 years of marriage. When Mike and his wife moved to Michigan, Ernie moved to New Prague to be closer to Amy and to his brother Roy. He took up painting and started a writer's group in his assisted living community that continues today.

Ernie is survived by his son Mike (Diane DiCarlo) and daughter Amy (Jim Rea), three grandchildren: Steven Frickstad, Mitchell Rea, and Michael Rea, and one great-grandson, Jaden Majest. Ernie loved his family very much, and that love was fully returned.

The funeral will take place at New Salem Lutheran Church in Turtle River on Saturday, March 10, at 3 p.m. A visitation will take place one hour prior. Weather permitting, the burial will take place at Lakeview Cemetery in Blackduck on Sunday, March 11 at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers or memorials, the family asks that people donate to the USO in Ernie's honor (

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