Ernest Benjamin “Ernie” Spilman, age 92, of Motley, died Wednesday, December 30th at his home in Motley. A Memorial Service will be held at a later date. A Private Interment was held at the Poplar Cemetery, Leader, MN.
Ernie was born on May 6, 1928 at Hinkley, MN, son of Benjamin and Mable (Noyes) Spilman. The family moved to Leader, MN in 1939, where Ernie attended school through the 8th grade. He then headed to western Minnesota, where he worked on his uncle’s farm near Fergus Falls, worked harvesting ice and a variety of other jobs. He served in the US Army during the Korean Conflict and received the Purple Heart for wounds received as a result of action with enemy forces. He was united in marriage with Leona Gebbie on August 13, 1955 at Sisseton, SD, they made their home in Fargo, before moving to California where he worked for Boeing Aircraft. They returned to the Leader (MN) Area and in the mid-1960’s he began working part-time for the Minnesota Highway Department. He had also worked as a welder at Sedusky’s and driven school bus for a time. They moved into Motley in 1969, when he began working full-time with the highway department doing highway maintenance. Ernie retired in 1986 and he and Leona wintered at Mathis, Texas. Leona died in 1998 and Ernie continued to winter in Texas for a few years after her death.
Ernie enjoyed fishing, winding copper, carpentry, welding, farming and animals. He also enjoyed his grandkids and spending time at their cabin on Shamineau Lake. He served as Commander of the American Legion, was a member of the DAV and the VFW. He served on the Motley City Council and the Leader Town Board, worked with the Fair Share Program, was a member of the Lion’s Club. He also served with the Fire Department, planted trees with Ralph Nutter, and worked measuring (surveying?) Cass County.
Ernie is survived by his children: Susan Mary Carlson (Dale Jacobs) of Willow, Alaska, Margaret (Steven) Dille of Staples, & Benjamin (Nancy) Spilman of Motley; his siblings: Edward (Mary) Spilman of Nisswa, Vernon Spilman of Foxhome, Irene Johnson of Fargo, ND, Mary (Tom) Larson of Brooklyn Park, Doug (Eileen) Spilman of Pillager, Elaine Perry (Jim Costa) of Sparks, NV, Richard “Butch” (Connie) Spilman of Billings, MT, & Wally (Faye) Spilman of Hammond, WI; twelve grandchildren: Erik, Jason, Vesta, Melissa, Christina, John, Lori, Kevin, Nicholas, Shawntell, Robert & Russell; twenty-three great grandchildren and 2 great great-grandchildren.
Ernie was preceded in death by his parents: Ben & Mable; his wife: Leona; special friend: Martha Shequen; siblings: Josephine Hove, Leroy Spilman, Wayne Spilman, Edna Dahlvang, Marvin Spilman, Donald Spilman; granddaughter: Jamie Hanson; and great-granddaughter: Danika Tkalcich. Arrangements have been entrusted to the Brenny Family Funeral Chapel of Staples. www.brenny.com
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