Ernest L. (Ernie) Giannini Jr.

Published 3:00 pm Friday, February 17, 2017

Ernest L. (Ernie) Giannini Jr. passed away Saturday, February 11, 2017, from injuries resulting from an auto accident in Tryon. He is survived by Lynne Parsons, his partner and wife of 27 years, his son Stephan Giannini of Rockland, Maine, his first wife, Renate Giannini of Laurium, Mich., his stepson, daughter-in-law and grand-daughter Kurt Perschke, Kate Weare, and Lily Perschke of Asheville, N.C., and stepson and daughter-in-law Ian Perschke and Jennifer Worstell of Chicago, Ill. His beloved son Christian Giannini preceded him in death.

Ernest was born in Chicago, Illinois on April 9, 1938. Ernie served 12 years of active duty in the Air Force, retiring as a Master Sargent. He worked in the intelligence service, primarily in Germany, where he met and married his first wife, Renate. After his active service, he continued in the National Guard for a total of 27 years in the military.

In Chicago following his service, he returned to school and received a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Illinois, Chicago. He worked for many years designing and installing communication and security systems, eventually starting his own consulting company. Always a community servant, Ernie was the President of the Evanston Kiwanis club, a Lt. Governor of the Kiwanis district, and an officer of his Unitarian church.

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Ernie joined the Polk County community when he moved from Chicago to Mill Spring with Lynne in 1996. He attended a local Kiwanis meeting the day after his arrival and was soon instrumental in revitalizing the local chapter. He served as Lt. Governor of this Kiwanis district twice. His life was meeting, helping and enjoying people. He was on the board of the Polk County Chamber of Commerce, helping with Shuckin and Shaggin, the Blue Ridge BBQ Festival, and many of their community events. He was on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters, a past President of the Tryon Country Club, a Guardian ad Litem representing children’s interests in court, and a member of the Second Wind Hall of Fame. His kind heart and generosity of spirit made our community a better place.

If you ever met Ernie, you have your own Ernie-story to tell. He was curious about you and your interests, no matter how different from his. He could fix just about anything, and was convinced he could fix people problems, too. At least he would give it a try. He was always charming and often argumentative, with a joke ready to top off the conversation. Nothing pleased him more than a good bargain found and properly negotiated. He also loved getting his picture in the paper. We miss our guy.

A celebration of Ernie’s life will be held at Sunnydale, 328 S. Trade St. in Tryon, on Sunday, February 26, at 3 p.m. Donations in Ernie’s name can be made to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, 50 South French Broad St., Rm. 213, Asheville, NC 28801. Designating “Memorial for Ernie Giannini” will make sure the donation is used locally.

Submitted by Roger Parsons