Ernest “Ernie” Harry Grubb, 90, resident of The Renaissance husband of Ann Gilchrist Grubb went to be with his Lord Friday Nov. 29, 2019.
Ernest was the third child born to Burris Stanley Grubb and Leta Earnestine Griffith on a farm in the Rocklane Community, Johnson County, Indiana. He attended Clark Township High School and assisted his father in the operation of their farm. He earned money to attend Franklin College in Franklin, Indiana by growing and selling tomatoes to an Indianapolis Farmers’ Market. When one summer yielded a bumper crop, he was forced to hire his sisters and friends to pick tomatoes, paying them 10 cents per hamper.
At age 16, Ernie enrolled in Franklin College. His classmates were primarily veterans returning from WW II. He credited much of his work ethic with that experience, describing these older students as “working hard and playing hard when their studies were through.” Sports writers in the area dubbed Ernest “Ernie” as they reported his excellent performance on the Franklin “Grizzlies” Basketball Team.
Ernie was inducted into the US Army in 1951 while teaching at the Spartanburg High School in Spartanburg, IN. An earlier back injury caused him to be given an honorable discharge early in his military career. He returned to Indiana to find no teaching jobs available, however a friend in South Georgia contacted him about an opening in a high school in Nahunta, GA. Later he accepted a teaching and coaching position in Coffee County, GA.
Ernie remained in the Coffee County area for 25 years, teaching and coaching for most of that time. He served as Dean of Boys at Coffee County High School 1959-1963. In 1963 Ernie was named Coach of the Year by the Georgia State Athletic Association. During his time in Coffee County, he coached future touring golf professional Larry Hinson, and later enjoyed Hinson’s invitations to walk with him on some of his matches.
Later in 1963, Ernie left the education field to join Fleetwood Enterprises, a nationally known builder of manufactured homes. He served as sales manager at the Douglas, GA Fleetwood plant and later was promoted to General Manager of the plant in Macomb, IL. Returning to South Georgia, Ernie ran a Goodyear Store in Douglas for some time after leaving Fleetwood.
In 1963 Ernie married Gloria Hall Davis and adopted her two sons, Brantley age 3 and Michael 18 months. In 1965 their son, Stanley was born. The couple later divorced and Ernie returned to Indiana to live with his parents and help his mother care for his invalid father. During this time he worked in retail sales and management.
Mutual friends introduced Ernie to a teacher at Indiana School for the Deaf. Ann and Ernie were married in 1977. Ann had 2 foster daughters, Pauline and Margie, who were sisters, both deaf. With influence from Ann and the girls, Ernie returned to college at Ball State University in Muncie, IN, and earned a Masters Degree in Deaf
Education. He took a position as high school history and social science teacher at the school, and worked as assistant football coach under Coach Lynn Frye. After Frye left to go into the business world, Ernie became head coach of the ISD team. Ernie’s ISD football team won the National Championship among schools for the deaf in both 1982 and 1983.
The couple retired from ISD in 1989 and relocated in Hendersonville, NC. After 25 years there, Ernie’s health issues sent them in search of a retirement facility where assisted living was available when he needed it. After a brief stay in Greenville, SC, they moved to another facility in Anderson, SC. There they became close friends with Susan Jackson, the marketing director there. When Susan accepted a position in Due West, Ann and Ernie followed her to The Renaissance Retirement where they have lived for 6 years.
Ernie and Ann have enjoyed singing Southern Gospel music together wherever they have attended church and in the retirement facility. They have been deeply involved in the Erskine College Ladies’ Tennis Team’s Grandparent program, and have served as “Grandparents” to 3 young ladies, all from distant homes…Mikaela Bennett of Calgary, Canada, Marie Berghaus of Cologne, Germany and Luiza Souza of Brazil. Ernie enjoyed attending the ladies’ practice sessions until his eyesight prevented him from following the ball. He has encouraged and “coached” the ladies from the sidelines. At the Sports Awards Ceremony at Erskine College in the spring of 2019, the team awarded him with the first “Ernie Grubb Fleety Award”. This award is to be handed down to an outstanding individual in Erskine’s Sports Program each year.
As new residents moved into The Renaissance, Susan Jackson would ask them to make a “Senior Wish” which she then would do all she could to fulfill. Ernie’s wish was to coach another championship football team, so Susan and Ann went to work to see his wish made possible. In 2015 former football players from Ernie’s teams were contacted and a weekend “reunion” was planned. Susan and Ann anticipated 5 or 6 men might make the trip to Due West. The men spread the word to the deaf community and a total of 29 of Ernie’s former players, 2 former cheerleaders, 3 retired teachers, his former head coach, Lynn Frye and a few wives and children descended on our little community to honor the coach! On Saturday morning the team had a “scrimmage” with the local fire fighters as their opponents. The official for the game was former Due West mayor Lee Logan.
At a banquet in his honor, nearly every former player stood to thank Ernie for the influence he had been on their lives as adults. Nothing could have pleased Ernie more. He loved influencing young people to become responsible useful citizens.
Ernie is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Ann Gilchrist Grubb; sons Michael Stuart and Ernest Stanley Grubb of Mesa, AZ, a special friend whom he loved like a daughter Susan Jackson and several nieces and nephews. Preceding him in death were his parents; his son, Brantley Davis; his sisters, Clara Jean Grubb Downey, Alice Jane Grubb Logan and Martha Ann Grubb Locke.
A celebration of life will be held on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019 at the Due West Baptist Church. Visitation will be in the church fellowship hall from 1:00 – 2:00 PM with the service in the sanctuary at 2:00.
The family has requested donations be sent to Hospice House of the Piedmont, 408 West Alexander Avenue, Greenwood, SC 20646 in lieu of flowers.