ONEONTA – Ernest L. “Ernie” “The Colonel” Sanders, 74, of Oneonta passed away unexpectedly Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, at Fox Hospital.
He was born March 10, 1943, in Oneonta the son of the late Leonard and Esther (Hall) Sanders, and graduated from Oneonta High School, Class of 1961. On Oct. 4, 1980, Ernie married Laura Conklin in Oneonta.
For many years he was a trackman and foreman for the D&H Railroad and later the Canadian Pacific. He retired at age 60 in 2003.
Ernie enjoyed fishing, gardening and building stone walls and, in his younger years, working on old cars. He was a good story teller and would always joke about his unpublished book of facts. His favorite pastime was watching NASCAR and his favorite driver was Mark Martin.
In recent years, Ernie volunteered for Salvation Army, the Oneonta MS Walk and the American Red Cross blood drives. But he will be remembered most for his love of his family, including his dogs and cats. Ernie and Laura were members of the Salvation Army Busy Bees and he was a member of the Army National Guard.
In addition to his loving wife of 37 years, he is survived by daughter and son-in-law, Kimberly (Fred) Pearce-Schwed, Oneonta; son, Dennis O’Donnell, Norwich; two grandchildren, Olivia and Nathan Schwed, Oneonta; two sisters-in-law, Suzanne Sanders, East Kingston, N.H., and Madeline Hill (Kevin), Otego; nephew, Floyd E. Sanders, Jr. (Toni), Exeter, NH; 3 nieces, Laurie Roy (David), Epping, N.H., Shannon Hill, Laurens and Erin McBride (Jay), Oneonta and their families; brother-in-law, Edward Conklin (Cindy), Endicott and family; as well as numerous friends. He was predeceased by his brothers, Leonard Sanders, Floyd E. Sanders, Sr. and Harold Utter (Sharene).
Calling hours will be 6-8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 14, in the Bookhout Funeral Home, 357 Main St., Oneonta. A service to celebrate his life will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 15, at the funeral home Inurnment will follow in the Sand Hill Cemetery, Wells Bridge.
Memorial donations may be made to the Susquehanna SPCA, 4845 State Highway 28, Cooperstown, New York 13326 or to the Oneonta Salvation Army, 25 River Street, Oneonta, New York 13820.
To light a candle or send an online condolence please visit www.bookhoutfuneralhome.com