Ernest W. Force, Jr. (Ernie) went home to be with his Lord and Savior on January 9, 2021. Ernie was born in Philipsburg, PA on May 25, 1937. He was the son of the late Ernest and Elsie (Lapps) Force. He grew up in Grassflat where, he stated many times, he had a very enjoyable childhood. Baseball in the summer, ice skating and skiing in the winter, fishing and hunting all the time, for what more could a kid ask.
After graduating from Cooper Twp. High School in 1955, he went to work at Bethlehem Steel in Lackawanna, NY where he decided the Buffalo winters were too much for him and he returned to Clarence, PA to the J. H. France Refractories. By 1957 he was looking for advancement, and didn’t think he should make that his life’s work. Since he had two cousins at Penn State he decided maybe he too should go there. He knew from watching and talking to his high school teachers, he would enjoy teaching as a career.
It was while he was working for his meals at Penn State that he met a student who sold him on Industrial Arts; he quickly fell in love with the curriculum. In the fall of 1960 he and Harry Hawkins came to Bald Eagle Nittany to student teach. Little did they know that in the summer of 1961 they would be offered the teaching positions.
During their first year of teaching Harry got married and kept telling Ernie how great married life was. Marion Hoffman would send student teachers down with pies in her best attempt to get him married off. In the fall of 1962 Peggy Miller, a new secretary, appeared in Mr. Adam’s office and she was quite beautiful. Herb Ramsey told him he was nuts if he didn’t get a date with her. It took some selling, but when he got that first date, the relationship never ended. On August 24, 1963 they were married, and lived happily ever after.
Ernie and Peggy became the parents of two special daughters, Michele Ann and Pamela Sue. Michele married Bruce Kirkpatrick, and Pamela married Wade Vonada. Wade and Pam gave Ernie two grandchildren, Evan and Megan and they were very special to him.
Many nights were spent playing baseball, kickball, and other active sports. He never wanted to get old, or at least act it.
It would sound like his first love was teaching; however, his first love was Jesus Christ. He didn’t push his belief as much as he wanted to, but hopefully people saw something different in him. When Peg said she would go to the church he chose, that sealed the deal on the marriage. In 1965 they went to the Cedar Springs Brethren in Christ church and that’s where they stayed. When Ernie lost his brother Eddie in a skydiving accident in 1966, he became totally sold out to Jesus. He also became more bold about sharing his faith and trying to make sure as many people as could would join him in Heaven. This love of the Lord and His Church caused him to get involved, and he held many positions in the church in his lifetime.
There was a time in the life of Ernie and Peggy that they got caught up in a business venture. In 1973, after the new church was finished in 1972, they entered the Amway business and gave it a real run. They reached the Emerald level which was significant in that day; he left teaching for awhile, and soon realized he had left the thing he liked the most. He was always appreciative of Mr. Hummel, Mr. Adams, Mr. Sohmer, and board members Mr. Williamson, and Mrs.Eckley who helped him get back into teaching, which he finally retired from in 1999.
Ernie was a life member of the Technology Education Association of Pennsylvania (formerly the Industrial Arts Association), the Penn State Alumni Association, the National Rifle Association as an Endowment Life Member, an annual member of Trout Unlimited, and remained an independent business owner with Amway Corporation, and was an Executive Consultant with Ambit Energy.
He is survived by his wife Peggy, his daughters Michele (Bruce) Kirkpatrick of Petersburg, and Pamela (Wade) Vonada. He is also survived by his granddaughter Megan Vonada (Rocco) Vuocolo and his great grandson Nathan Rocco Vuocolo.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother, and his grandson, Evan Wade Vonada whom he greatly adored and loved.
What Ernie would like to say to you who are reading this for the final look at the life of Ernest W. Force, Jr. is he would like to invite you to join him in Heaven and later in the New Earth. It is not something that is far fetched. Ask God to forgive your sins (we are all sinners), He will do that if you ask, because Jesus paid the penalty when He died on that cross on Good Friday, and when He rose on Easter Sunday He showed you that you can rise too. Ernie invites his friends to join him, he’d be happy to see you and renew old friendships.
A Funeral Service will be held on Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 11 A.M. at the Cedar Heights Brethren in Christ Church, 37 Cedar Hts., Mill Hall, PA 17751 with Pastor Scott Garman officiating. Burial will be in the Forest Baptist Cemetery in Winburne, Pennsylvania.
Friends and family will be received at the church for a time of viewing on Wednesday evening from 6 P.M. to 9 P.M. and on Thursday from 10 A.M. until the time of the service.
COVID mitigation efforts, including social distancing and mask wearing will be required to all in attendance.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Cedar Heights BIC Church.
A livestream of Ernie’s service will be accessible on Thursday at 11 A.M. by visiting the Cedar Heights BIC Church Facebook page or through the church website at www.chbic.org.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Donald G. Walker Funeral Home, Inc., 231 High Street, Flemington, PA 17745.
Online condolences may be sent by visiting www.donaldwalkerfuneralhome.com
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