He was born on Oct. 9, 1925 in St. Albans, son of the late Walter and Hortense (Paquette) Bartlett.
Ernie grew up in St. Albans and was a 1943 graduate of St. Mary’s High School, following which he enlisted in the U.S. Navy pilot training program. He attended various colleges and flight stations throughout the U.S. until the end of World War II. He returned to St. Albans and worked as a sheet metal worker and pipefitter at Central Vermont Railway. He was reactivated as a member of the Vermont National Guard serving as a 2nd lieutenant from 1950-1952 with the Heavy Mortar Company, Infantry Regiment.
After discharge from the National Guard, he spent the remainder of his career as a sheet metal worker and job foreman, including 15 years at Vermont Heating & Ventilating and three years as union business agent. Ernie was a true Jack-of-all-trades with skills in roofing, pipefitting, welding, carpentry and many other trades and never failed to lend a hand with a friend or neighbor’s project. He was happiest when he was teaching someone else these skills and continued assisting in the sheet metal business at New England Air Systems into his mid-80s.
Survivors include his wife of 25 years, Mary (Tucker) Bartlett. He also leaves three children, Stephen and his wife Pam of Williston, Jo Ann Poquette of Burlington, John and his wife Kristen of Milton. He leaves seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren including Heather and Dean Ferrara, Bill and Kerrie Bartlett and family, Derek & Krista Poquette and family, Luke and Lynn Poquette and family, as well as Addysen, Katie and Alex Bartlett, plus many cherished cousins, nieces and nephews. He leaves his former wife of 28 years and mother of his children, Barbara (Towle) Bartlett. He also leaves his stepsons and their families, Strat and Pat Fuller of Fenton, Mo. and Gene Fuller, Sr. of Longmont, Colo. He was predeceased by his second wife Geraldine Waite, sister Elaine Fredette, brother Harold and his wife Lorraine, stepson Mark Fuller and a special cousin Larry Paquette.
Ernie raised his family in Milton from 1953 until 1976. He took pride in his community and was involved as a village trustee, Scoutmaster, Little League coach and many other roles. In 1966, he purchased a historic house in Checkerberry, gutted and renovated it and in the following years transformed two farm outbuildings into houses. He felt honored when this road was named Bartlett road many years later.
The family would like to extend special thanks to physician Eugene Moore, the VNA hospice staff, especially Mary Loney, RN, as well as Wanda Sadler and the rest of the caring and attentive staff at Shelburne Bay.
Visiting hours are Wednesday, Dec. 5, from 4-7 p.m., including a military detail at 4 p.m., and will be held at Minor Funeral Home, 237 Route 7 South, Milton. Burial will follow in the spring at Mt. Calvary cemetery in St. Albans.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations be made to the Visiting Nurse Association (Hospice), 1110 Prim Rd., Colchester, VT 05446 or the Wounded Warrior Project, www.woundedwarriorproject.org. Condolences may be left on Minor’s online guest book at www.minorfh.com.
Ernie embodied the quote, “A day without laughter is a day wasted,” and his spirit will live on every time you tell a joke to someone else. He wished to die smiling, and that he did, sharing his jokes and funny stories until the end.