Ernest Tearso Virgil, of Cottage Grove, was born in Chicago, Ill. to Francisco and Annabelle (Weinberg) Virgil and passed away at RiverBend Hospital in Eugene, Ore.

Ernie is survived by his wife of 52 years, Helen Virgil also of Cottage Grove; daughter Vivian (Kevin) Marsh of California; daughter Ann (Don) Burke of Cottage Grove; daughter Stephanie (Brent) of Veneta; son Michael (Andrea) Parker of Eugene; and daughter Dawn (Shane) Dodd of Eugene. He was preceded in death by his sons Scott Virgil and David Parker. Ernie was a proud Papa to 15 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. He will be missed by five brothers, including Stan (Ann) Daza and Ted (Sue) Daza of Cottage Grove, and three sisters.

Ernie enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1951. He served his country on the USS Rochester during the Korean War and was honorably discharged in 1955. After the Navy he spent many years as an ironworker in Southern California building skyscrapers. In 1979, he and his family moved to Cottage Grove where he began his career as an Equipment Operator for the U.S. Forest Service and retired in 2005.

Over his lifetime he enjoyed building dune buggies and 4x4 vehicles. He spent many weekends and Thanksgivings at his older brother’s desert property in California or driving through the woods. Camping with family and friends was always a high priority of his. He loved to fish and hunt. He also enjoyed wood working and being an all-around fix-it guy. 

A celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. on May 21 at Calvary Chapel Cottage Grove. Arrangements are in the care of Smith-Lund-Mills Funeral Chapel and Crematorium.