COL Jerome “Jerry” W. Ernst, 85, passed away in his home in Mission Viejo, California on April 29, 2018. Jerry was born March 10, 1933 in Chicago, Illinois and was the eldest of two children born to Adolph and Norma (Kautenburger) Ernst. His younger brother Thomas passed away at an early age from a brain tumor. Jerry and eventually his parents left the windy city for the southwest. Jerry attended the University of Arizona and majored in Real Estate and minored in Economics. While at U of A he was President of the social fraternity Phi Kappa Theta and the business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi. While in college, Jerry was also a member of the ROTC and upon graduating (1956) he enlisted as an officer in the United States Army. As a First Lieutenant of the 4thArmored Division, Jerry was stationed in Germany for four years. During this time, he trained and traveled, collecting oil paintings, antiques and also met and married his wife of 58 years Elfa Schoenwitz. Jerry returned to Arizona after his tour of duty ended and entered the civilian job market and Army Reserves. In 1963, Jerry and his family pursued his interest in real estate and relocated to Southern California and was hired as a real estate appraiser. To further his appraisal career, Jerry became a Member of the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers (MAI) in 1972. He continued with the Army Reserves in tandem with his Real Estate Appraising career. In the Army, he rose to the ranks of Colonel and retired in 1993. The real estate career took him into the field of Mortgage Banking and he became Sr. Vice President of Charterhouse Investment Company until his retirement. After retirement, Jerry devoted his time to his passions of traveling, adding to his many collections, fine dining and the arts, philanthropy, volunteering for the Knights of Columbus and Society of Saint Vincent de Paul and spending time with his family and friends. Jerry is survived by his wife Elfa, three children Catherine, Lawrence and Andrea and six grand children Nadia, Lena, Tamara, Jenna, Danielle and Brandon.
On May 11, 2018 at 10 am, a mass at Santiago de Compostela Catholic Church in Lake Forest, California will be held followed by a military honor guard at the El Toro Memorial Park Cemetery to pay tribute to COL Jerome Ernst. He will be missed dearly by all who knew him.