Ernest John Silbernagel, 75, son of John and Otillia (Ternes) Silbernagel was born in Bismarck, North Dakota on May 22, 1945. He passed away peacefully in his sleep at his Lake Carlos home on May 26, 2020.
Ernie’s parents were high school sweethearts, but sadly father and son never had the chance to meet; Johnny Silbernagel was killed in action in France in December of 1944. In 1949, Tillie married a wounded veteran of the same war, Donald Bosworth. From this union grew a very large family, and Ernie eventually became the big brother to nine siblings who always looked up to him. Whether it was helping find employment or offering advice, or simply entertaining them with generous boat rides and lake adventures, Ernie always supported his siblings and they all adored their big brother.
Ernie graduated from St. Mary’s Central High School in 1963, and in the summer of 1964, he met the love of his life, Diane Wanio, on a sandbar on the Missouri River. They were married August 13, 1966 and began their life together in Moorhead, MN, while Ernie studied at Minnesota State University, Moorhead, and at Moorhead State University. Ernie and Diane moved to St. Peter, MN in 1968, living there and on beautiful Lake Jefferson near Cleveland, MN. Ernie worked in Mankato as a program director at the Mankato Rehabilitation Center and continued his studies, eventually received a MS in Vocational Counseling from Mankato State University. But Ernie’s greatest accomplishments were his children, Jason, who was born in 1970, and Kelly, born in 1972, whom he loved deeply.
In 1979, Ernie and Diane purchased the Eagle Bend News and Bertha-Hewitt Herald newspapers. Ernie was extremely gifted in the art of making conversation and putting people at ease, and this skill served him well as a journalist. Diane’s experience as a typesetter, photographer and editor combined with Ernie’s penchant for connecting with people made them an incredible duo. They worked well together, often laboring until midnight to get the paper ready for press the next day. Over the course of 20 years, with a combination of hard work and compassion, they built a community newspaper that eventually expanded to include the Clarissa Independent in 1992, enriching the lives of many along the way. They sold the newspaper and print shop in 2000 and moved to Lake Carlos, near Carlos, MN, building their lakeside dream home and continuing their incredible journey together.
Ernie especially enjoyed history, and a pivotal moment in his life came in 2001 when he accompanied two close friends to France where they toured the Omaha and Utah beach battlefields. It was here that Ernie was able to visit his father’s grave at the cemetery near St. Avold.
Ernie and Diane loved travelling and together they had a robust social calendar, making annual winter trips to Outdoor Resorts on Long Key, Florida. After Diane lost her battle with cancer in 2011, Ernie continued his seasonal travels – making stops to visit friends and family along the way - spending his most recent winters in Port Isabel, TX. At home, Ernie enjoyed the company of his lake friends, tended to Diane’s beautiful flower gardens and fed his life-long appetite for learning by devouring non-fiction. He also enjoyed playing resident host and boat captain for the annual Bosworth-Silbernagel family reunions at the nearby Lake Carlos State Park group camp.
Ernie is survived by two children; Kelly Jean Silbernagel and Jason John Silbernagel, both of Minneapolis, MN; seven siblings, Marc (Sarah) Bosworth of Wichita, KS; Tim (Brenda) Bosworth of Fergus Falls, MN; Brenda (Michael) Hove of Bismarck, ND; Pat (Alan) Libra of St. Paul, MN; Carla (John) Bergmeier of Waxhaw, NC; Myron (Linda) Bosworth of Mankato, MN; Ramon (Sharon) Bosworth of Shreveport, LA; three sisters-in-law, Connie (John) Bosworth of Tehachapi, CA; Diane (Joel) Bosworth of Mandan, ND; Ardeth (Joel) Hurvitz of Sherman Oaks, CA, and many cousins, nieces and nephews. Ernie was preceded in passing by his parents and step-father; his beloved wife, Diane; and his brothers Joel Bosworth and John Bosworth.
His legacy of love, compassion for one and all, and his genuine thirst for knowledge will be deeply missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.
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