Eugene Wayne Ernst of Auburn was a fifth generation Californian and a descendant of a pioneering family. He was born to Archie and Eleanor Ernst in Sacramento, CA. He graduated from Bella Vista High School in 1965. An Air Force Veteran , he worked in munitions and served 3 years in Taiwan, Thailand, South Vietnam and Okinawa. He was honorably discharged as a staff sergeant in 1970. Gene met his wife, Betty, in 1978 and together they started a business at Denio's Market. In 1983 they opened Foothill Mattress Center of Grass Valley and have operated it continuously since then.
Gene is survived by his wife Betty; sons, Jeffrey and Philip Ernst of Nebraska and David Cruise of Penn Valley; daughters in-law, Michelle and Jennifer Ernst; granddaughters, Stephanie, Gabriella and Hannah; sisters, Lucinda Luttgen and Marnie Badgley; brother, Robert Ernst. Also survived by nieces and nephews, Scott Luttgen, Cheryl Ernst, Bobbie Ernst, Gabrielle Badgley and Annly Badgley.
Family and friends are invited to attend a funeral service at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 3 at Hooper and Weaver Mortuary in Nevada City. A public reception will follow at the Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley.