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Richard Ernst

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Richard Ernst Obituary
ERNST, RICHARD A. "DICK" passed away on September 19, 2016. Born in Cranston, Dick was the son of the late Robert C. and Irma (Ekelund) Ernst and was a lifetime Cranston resident. A 1956 graduate of Cranston High School, Dick distinguished himself as a remarkable athlete, captaining his high school hockey team while earning All State honors and playing at number one on the tennis team, and later, was an outstanding coach in hockey and tennis. Dick graduated from Bridgton Academy in Maine in 1957 where he played both hockey and tennis (undefeated at the No. 1 slot). In 1961 he graduated from Providence College with an A.B. degree. He played varsity hockey and tennis there and upon graduation, received the Mal Brown Award for sportsmanship, courage and honor in intercollegiate sports. Dick taught at North Providence High School from 1962 to 1966 where he was also the hockey and a cross country coach. He later coached the Providence College men's tennis team from 1970 to 1975. After college Dick played in the New England Amateur and semi-pro hockey leagues until he was 35 years old. From 1967 to 1990 Dick taught English at Cranston H. S. East, and between 1976 and 1990 he coached the tennis team. Both his 1983 and '84 teams were undefeated, winning the State and New England Championships. In 1985 East tennis was state runner-up and won the Austin Crawford team tournament for 1983, '84 and '85. Dick was assistant hockey coach at Cranston East from 1967 to '73. Those teams were named state champions in 1967, state and New England champs in 1969, and state runners-up in 1970. As head coach, Dick's Cranston East hockey teams consistently won awards in the Interscholastic League between 1974 and 2002. They were Metropolitan C State Champions three times, and in 1984 were one of the few public schools to face Mount St. Charles in the state finals. For fifty-two years Dick coached hockey in the Interscholastic League (1962-2014) - the longest tenure ever. As head coach at East, Dick's teams made the play-offs 22 years straight. Dick also has the distinction of having coached championship teams at four different schools and the only coach to win championships in both boys and girls leagues. In 1975 Dick chaired the R. I. Bicentennial committee for hockey and tennis. As hockey chairman, he arranged for Cranston East boys hockey to play a Swedish all-star team in a double-header with the R. I. Reds at the Providence Civic Center. Incidentally, Cranston East was the first high school team to play at the Civic Center. Coaching R. I. College men's and women's tennis, Dick's teams won eight Little East Conference Championships (4 men's and 4 women's). Coaching boys tennis at Barrington for 13 years, Dick's teams won several League championships and were runners up to South Kingstown four times in the state finals. He also won two state junior varsity championships with the North Kingstown girls. His hockey teams registered over 600 wins throughout his career. In 2014 the R. I. Reds Heritage Organization presented Dick with their 'native-born heritage' award. Dick coached 115 boys and girls hockey and tennis teams in 54 years (52 hockey and 63 tennis). For 27 years Dick ran the City of Cranston's summer tennis program at the Cranston Stadium, giving an accounting of the boys' and girls' accomplishments and activities in his 'On the Court' weekly column in the Cranston Herald. The Roger Williams Park tennis facility was the site of the largest amateur open tennis tourney in New England where for 43 years Dick promoted and ran the R.I. Metropolitan Tennis Championships. He captained the Park team which won the state title four years. Dick was undefeated at No. 1 for eight years straight and won the league title three times. Dick was a New England ranked player for 50 years and a former R. I. Open and R. I. Closed singles champion. On June 5, 2010, in a special ceremony at the Park courts, the championship court was named in Dick's honor. Dick edited the Rhode Island Tennis Yearbook and the New England Senior Tennis Bulletin, previously published and now found on line at neseniortennis.org. USTA New England awarded Dick the Gardner Chase Award - their highest honor - as well as special recognition for 50 years of service to New England tennis. As a member of the People-to-People Organization, Dick arranged and conducted all star tennis and hockey player tours to Ireland, Sweden and California, receiving recognition from the late President Gerald Ford for this effort. In 1975 Dick was greatly honored to have received the 'Words Unlimited' Frank Lanning Award for contributions to Rhode Island sports. Dick was also honored to be included in the City of Cranston Hall of Fame, the Cranston Athletic Hall of Fame, the Bridgton Academy Hall of Fame, the R. I. Tennis Coaches Hall of Fame, the R. I. Interscholastic League Hall of Fame, the USTA New England Tennis Hall of Fame, and the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame. Dick is survived by his wife of 51years, Rollice Anne (Jones), sons, Robert C. of Chicago, IL, Gordon M. of Chevy Chase, MD, grandchildren: Alexander K., Evan M., Olivia E., Phoebe A. and Isabella D. Ernst, sister Loralee Flood and her children Greg of Houston, TX, and Erinn Huetteman of Cranston and many friends. He was the father of the late Andrew R. Ernst. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday September 24th at 10:00am in Phillips Memorial Baptist Church 565 Pontiac Avenue Cranston. Visitation will be held on Friday from 3:00-8:00pm in The Butterfield Chapel 500 Pontiac Avenue Cranston. In lieu of flowers donations to the Cranston Public Library would be greatly appreciated. to share an online condolence please visit THEBUTTERFIELDHOME.com
Published in The Providence Journal from Sept. 21 to Sept. 22, 2016
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