Aug. 21, 1921 – Jan. 4, 2019
On the morning of January 4, 2019, Ernie passed away peacefully of natural causes surrounded by his family. He was 97 years old.
Ernie was born the youngest of eight children on August 21, 1921 to Ernest H. Dygert and Permelia Coolidge Dygert in Toluca, MT.
In 1926 Ernie moved with his family to a ranch between Luther and Red Lodge Montana. He attended Hogan Creek School, a one room schoolhouse. It was during his childhood when he met his future wife, Nellie Vincent, a neighboring rancher’s daughter.
As a young man he worked as a carpenter with the Civilian Conservation Corps. Ernie was then drafted into the Army in July of 1942. He was in the 540th Engineer Regiment during WWII where he participated in beach landings in North Africa and Anzio. While in Anzio, he met the war correspondent Ernie Pyle who documented their meeting in his book Brave Men. Ernie then toured with the Army through southern France where he was injured and sent to a hospital in England for the duration of the war.
Upon discharge from the Army Ernie moved back to Montana where he married the love of his life, Nellie Mae Vincent, in Billings, Montana on September 22, 1945. They made their living building highways all over Montana while Ernie belonged to Operating Engineers local 400. Therefore, they lived in many places before settling in Helena 43 years ago..
Ernie belonged to the local VFW, DAV, American Legion, and the Eagles in Bozeman, MT. The couples’ hobbies included socializing and playing cards with their friends. In their retirement Ernie and Nellie enjoyed camping with the Treasure State Wheelers Good Sam Club.
Ernie was preceded in death by his loving wife of 63 years, Nellie, his parents, his brothers Clyde, Harold, Ed, Albert, and Bill Dygert, his sisters Alma Grey and Alice Levi, his grandaughter Schelly Betts, his great grandchildren, Elizabeth, Jon, Jillian, Wyatt, and Sam Tielking.
Ernie is survived by his three children, Donna Tielking and her husband Chuck of Helena, sons Ernest R. Dygert and his wife Vickie of Bozeman, and Hank Dygert and his wife Kandys of Spokane, WA, his grandchildren C.J., Scott, Jon, Don, and Steven Tielking, Anna Shevlin, Ernest L Dygert, and H.J. Dygert. There are 19 great- grandchildren, eight great- great -grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial graveside service honoring Ernie’s life will be held at 2:30 pm on Thursday, January 10, 2019 at the Montana State Veterans Cemetery at Fort Harrison. Ernie’s wife, Nellie Mae, who passed away on May 29, 2009, will be laid to rest with him at this time. A reception will follow the service at Anderson Stevenson Wilke Funeral Home, 3750 N. Montana Ave. in Helena.
If desired, memorial donations may be made in Ernie’s name to Compassus Hospice 1075 N. Rodney St Helena, MT 59602. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or share a memory of Ernie.
The family would like to thank the doctors and nurses at Fort Harrison VA Hospital for their excellent care of Ernie. Thank you also to Rocky Mountain Health Care, especially Jasmine, TJ, Dorie, and Brandy for taking care of Dad. A special thank you to Pasha for being there for us and Dad at the end.