WENTWORTH — Ernest (Ernie) Edward Vlk, loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, World War II wartime carrier sailor and community leader, passed away peacefully at home on Feb. 27, 2019, at the young age of 95.
Ernie was universally described as a man of "few words and great wisdom" and with a Maine "Down East" wit and smile.
Ernie’s journey began on Jan. 13, 1924, in Willington, Connecticut. He was the son of Karel and Marie (Kasacek) Vlk; his siblings, all of whom predeceased him, were brothers Charles, William, and John Vlk and sisters Lillian Petrovich and Rose Mastrangelo.
Ernie started his education to become a civil engineer at the University of Connecticut until he enlisted in the Navy in 1944 as a radio and radar man on the USS Hancock in the Pacific. Following his discharge from WWII, Ernie resumed his engineering studies and married his first wife, Helen (Bugbee), with whom he shared 52 years until her death in August 1998. Together they had two sons, Robert J. Vlk and partner Kerri Solomon of Danbury and Wayne E. Vlk and wife Deborah of Wentworth; grandson John W. Vlk and wife Tabitha of Wentworth; four great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
He distinguished himself in each of his civilian positions, including 17 years as a production engineer with Pratt & Whitney Aircraft of Hartford, Connecticut.
In 1970, Ernie’s love of New Hampshire mountains, hiking, fishing and camping brought him to be co-owner with Helen at Pine Haven Campgrounds in Wentworth, and physical plant team leader at Plymouth State University until his retirement in 1984.
He was a distinguished community leader in Connecticut and New Hampshire, serving as a selectman, tax assessor, school board member, Pemi-Baker Snowmobile Club president, director of the East Side Cemetery, member of the Campton Baptist Church, and a 50-year Mason. Ernie described his service as having been “Just local stuff ... I didn’t do much.”
Life took an unexpected but fortunate turn at a St. Patrick’s Day luncheon at the Plymouth Senior Center in 2010 when he met his second wife, Bonnie Linda (Bach), which gave him a second family of Kathleen Blackey and husband Chris and children Sarah, Daniel, and Priscilla of South Londonderry, Vermont, and Brian Burbank and wife Laura of Seattle, Washington.
The family would like to thank the following organizations: Bayada Hospice, TLC Homecare & Nursing, and VA Home Based Primary Care, for their loving care of Ernie.
In lieu of flowers, he requested that contributions be sent to the Wentworth Veterans Memorial, PO Box 264, Wentworth, NH 03282.
Ernie’s Celebration of Life service will take place at the Campton Baptist Church, 1345 NH Route 175, Campton, on Sunday, March 17, at 3 p.m., with a reception following. Burial will take place at East Side Cemetery in Wentworth on Saturday, May 18, at 11 a.m.