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Memorial Service For Earnest J. Columber
Saturday, January 20, 2007, 2:00 PM
Wright Funeral Home
Grand Rapids, Ohio
( Italics not spoken)

Son Tracy Columber lights Earnie's Memorial Candle


My name is David Watts.
I am married to Louise, Earnie's wife Linda's Sister.
I do lay ministry for the Episcopal Church.
My parish is St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Maumee.

We are gathered together to remember our dear Earnie and bid him farewell.

We will be using a memorial service of the Episcopal Church.

Midway in the service, I will ask if anyone wishes to speak about Earnie.
You may do that from where you sit.
Please, try to share your story of Earnie with us.
I shall now begin Earnie's memorial service.


As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives
and that at the last he will stand upon the earth.
After my awakening, he will raise me up;
and in my body I shall see God.
I myself shall see, and my eyes behold him
who is my friend and not a stranger.

The Lord be with us
Let us pray

We remember before you this day our brother Earnie.
We thank you for giving him to us,
his family and friends,
to know and to love as a companion on this earthly pilgrimage.
Console us who mourn.
Give us faith to see in death the gate of eternal life,
until, by your call, we are united with those who have gone before;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Old Testament Lesson is a reading from Book of the Wisdom of Solomon

The souls of the righteous are in the hands of God,
and no torment will ever touch them.

In the eyes of the foolish they seem to have died,
and their departure was thought to be a disaster,
and their going from us to be their destruction;
but they are at peace.

For though in the sight of others they were punished,
their hope is full of immortality.

Having been disciplined a little,
they will receive great good,
because God tested them and found them worthy of himself;
those who trust in him will understand truth,
and the faithful will abide with him in love,
because grace and mercy are upon his holy ones,
and he watches over his elect.

Here endeth the reading.

The Hopeful Psalm 42 (Episcopal Hymn 658)

As longs the deer for cooling streams in parched and barren ways,
So longs my soul for God, for thee, and thy refreshing grace.

For thee, my God, the living God, my thirsty soul doth pine:
Oh when shall I behold thy face, thou Majesty divine?

Why restless, why cast down, my soul? Hope still,
And thou shalt sing the praise of him who is thy God
Thy health’s eternal spring.

To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the God whom we adore,
Be glory, as it was, is now, and shall be evermore.

The New Testament Lesson is a reading from St. Paul’s Letter
to the church in Rome

I consider that the sufferings of this present time
are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.
For the creation waits with eager longing
for the revealing of the children of God.

Who will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine,
or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through
him who loves us.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor rulers,
nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate from the love of God
in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Here endeth the reading.

Let us say the Shepherd’s Psalm 23 together

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;
He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul;
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his Name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
thou annointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. John

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Jesus said:
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.
The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep,
sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away -
and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.

But I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.
And I lay down my life for the sheep.

I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice.
So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

Here endeth the reading of the Gospel of our Lord.

Now please tell us about the Earnie that you know.

Earnie Columber - young

Laura Zitzelberger, his niece, called Earnie a big Teddy Bear - very cordial and loving. Earnie always welcomed family and friends even when their visits were a surprise.

Tracy Columber, his son, remembered how Earnie was always there for his children's school and sports events. When any of his family was in the hospital, especially his son Michael and wife Linda, it was hard to keep Earnie away from being there with them. Tracy also recalled his sister Deborrah's car mishap in the garage when Earnie got injured.

John Zabowski, his brother-in-law, recalled that both he and Earnie served in the U.S. Army Air Corp. during World War II. He in Asia and Earnie in England where casualties were the highest. John wanted us to imagine how Earnie must have felt after loading the armament on the B-24 Liberator heavy bombers for his buddies, only to have them not return from their bombing run. He commended Earnie for his service to his country.

(Sentinel-Tribune Obituary by son Robert Columber)
Earnest Columber
WESTON — Services for Earnest J. Columber will be private at
Wright Funeral Home, Grand Rapids.
Mr. Columber, 83, of Weston, died Tuesday (Jan. 16, 2007) at Blakely
Care Center, Bowling Green.
A World War II Army Air Corps veteran, he retired from Tontogany Elevator.
He also worked with Autolite, Pugh Stone Quarry and Sun Seed.
As a young man he served in the Civilian Conservation Corps, building
roads, bridges and buildings throughout the country.
He served as a marshal during the 1959 flood in Grand Rapids.
Born Oct. 5, 1923 in Kenton to Earnest and Lilly (White) Columber,
he married Linda L. Armstrong, and she survives.
Also surviving are three sons, Robert, Grand Rapids; Tracy, of Wayne;
and Michael, Weston; a daughter, Debra McDonald, Grand Rapids;
seven grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.
Nine brothers and sisters preceded him in death.
Memorials may be made to the family.
Condolences can be sent at

(Wright Funeral Home Obituary by son Robert Columber)
Earnest J. Columber Oct. 5, 1923-Jan. 16, 2007
Earnest J. Columber, 83, of Weston passed
away early Tuesday morning, January 16, 2007
at Blakely Care Center, Bowling Green,
with his loving family by his side.
A brief history of our Dad. He was preceded
in death by his parents, Earnest and Lilly (White)
Columber and his 9 brothers and sisters.
Dad was the last to go and he would have wanted
it that way. Dad went to school to the age of 14,
the 8th grade when he left home in Kenton, Ohio
to join the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
He traveled to several states building roads,
bridges and buildings. He then joined the Army
Air Corps during World War II where he was an
armorer on a B-24 Liberator called “Lil Snooks”
stationed in Bungay, England. Returning to
the states, Dad went to work at Autolite in
Toledo. He later worked at the Pugh Stone Quarry
where he operated a steam shovel. He was a
Marshall in the Village of Grand Rapids during
the 1959 flood, but is probably best known for
all his years working at the Tontogany Elevator
and later, Sun Seed. If you didn’t know Dad,
he was a very proud man who would not think
twice of giving himself to others, especially
his family. I have never known a man who was so
in love with his wife, Linda, and he would move
the world for her if he could. Dad was also
very proud of his three sons, Robert (Ginny)
of Grand Rapids, Tracy (Happy) of Wayne,
and Michael of Weston, and his daughter, Debra
(Dennis) McDonald of Grand Rapids and all of
their families. To see Dad glow, all you needed
to see was him with one of his seven grandchildren
or his great granddaughter. Dad told us “I don’t
want anyone fussin’ over me,” so we will have a
simple private service for the family. Remember
Dad as the strong, proud man that he was,
I know I will. “Go to sleep Dad…go to sleep.”

(Wright Funeral Home Guest Book Entry,
1/17/07, 6:67 AM, by son Robert Columber)
Dad will be sadly missed by all the family. Dad was
an old biker, who owned a Harley in his younger
days. Just a foot note to the kinda guy Dad
was...he sold his Harley to raise the money needed
to adopt my sister and I. At that time it took
$300.00 to adopt 2 kids and that is what he sold his
bike for. If you know me and know how clean I keep
my bike, Dad's was baby blue and was always

(Wright Funeral Home Guest Book Entry,
1/18/07, 1:23 AM, by brother-in-law Dave Watts)
Earnie and all our family are in our thoughts and
prayers. I am preparing Earnie's Memorial
Peace and Love, Dave Watts

(Wright Funeral Home Guest Book Entry,
1/18/07, 8:46 AM, by friend Tammy Dewese)
I remember growing up with your family, and
remember so many good times. Earnie was always
a good provider for the family, and to this day,
the family is so close, I envy that. Thanks for
the memories, you are all in my thoughts,
and in my heart. Love, Tammy

(Wright Funeral Home Guest Book Entry,
1/18/07, 8:53 AM, by friend Jessica Connick)
My deepest sympathy to you all. Earnie's kindness
showed through every day I worked with him at
Blakely's. Not often do you get to work with
someone with a heart quite like his. A wonderful
man with a wonderful family. I am proud to have
been able to know him. My prayers are with you.

(Wright Funeral Home Guest Book Entry,
1/18/07, 5:31 PM, by friends Scott and Ann Boulis)
I'm very happy that Earnie and I were able to hook
up before he past away. When I walked into his
room it was like we had seen each other
yesterday. He told me he was there till the end that
it was to hard for Linda to take care of him. What a
great man thinking of others first. I ask Earnie if he
knew the Lord and he said he did. That made my day.
He is now with the Lord and if I know Earnie he
is offering his help. He will be missed by all.
God Bless all of you, Scott

End with my words about Earnie

Earnie and I shared something other than having wives who are sisters. We shared this ocean liner - Her Majesty's Ship The Queen Mary.

I was born in Blackpool, England in 1942 amid World War II. The German's were bombing my homeland and the outcome was looking dim.

But the Americans came and one of them was Airman Ernest Columber. The Queen Mary was converted into a troop ship and Earnie sailed to England on the Queen Mary.

Earnie and his fellow airman returned the bombing to Germany turning the tide of the war. They did this in their B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators. The Liberator was the plane which Earnie helped arm.

My mother ran a small hotel that was used to house US airman in my hometown of Blackpool which is a coastal resort town just to the north of Liverpool. I like to imagine that Earnie might have stayed there.

Of course, the Germans were defeated.

After the war my parents moved to Canada and eventually to the United States. My dad came first to find work. Then I at 5 years of age with my mother and aunt sailed to New York on the same Queen Mary.

Without Earnie and thousands of other American soldiers, all those GI's, I might not be here. So Earnie has my most respectful thanks as well as my love.

We all love Earnie...

Earnie was a real man, big and strong, a practical man, with working hands. Such a man that surely he is now working hard but somewhere else.

Earnie was a straight arrow. He emphatically told you when things were not right. Surely we will continue feel his exasperation and scolding when we do wrong or stupid things.

Earnie had a great big loving heart; with a love that welcomed you and invited you back, with a love that was concerned and worried for you, with a love that was protective and even sweetly jealous. Such a loving heart that he surely loves us still but from a place beyond our senses.

Earnie we love you.

And now, let us say the Lord’s Prayer together

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer for those who mourn

Almighty God, Father of mercies and giver of comfort:
Deal graciously, we pray, with all who mourn; that,
casting all their care on you.
they may know the consolation of your love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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The Commendation

Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant Earnie.
Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you,
a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock,
a sinner of your own redeeming.
Receive Earnie into the arms of your mercy,
into the blessed rest of everlasting peace,
and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.

The Blessing

The peace of God, which passeth all understanding,
keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
and the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,
be amongst us, and remain with us always. Amen.

The Dismissal

Go in peace to love and serve each other and the Lord. Amen.

Taps is played honoring Veteran Earnie J. Columber

Wife Linda Columber presented Veteran's Flag by Wright Funeral Home

Folded U.S.Flag

This flag is presented on behalf of a grateful nation and the United States Army as a token of appreciation for your loved one's honorable and faithful service.

God's Garden Must Be Beautiful


In Loving Memory of Ernest J. Columber

Ernest J. Columber in Weston, Ohio Cemetery - front Ernest J. Columber in Weston, Ohio Cemetery
Ernest J. Columber in Weston, Ohio Cemetery - stone Ernest J. Columber in Weston, Ohio Cemetery - plaque

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This page last updated on 8-25-2012.