‘Salt of earth’ Bierwagen will be missed | TheUnion.com

‘Salt of earth’ Bierwagen will be missed

When Ernie Bierwagen ended 25 years of service to the Nevada Irrigation District board of directors last year, The Union publisher Jeff Ackerman wrote that if there is salt in Nevada County’s earth, “much of it probably fell from Bierwagen’s brow.”

“More than anyone I know, Ernie is the salt of the earth,” wrote Ackerman.

And so we were saddened to learn Friday that the man who gave so much to Nevada County died Thursday, just days before his 89th birthday.

Ernie’s family came to this country from Russia in 1881, settling in South Dakota. They moved to Nevada County more than 100 years ago, starting a little farm in Chicago Park.

“I was born right over the place where I’m sitting now,” he told The Union in an interview last year. “My grandparents and their four boys, including my dad, came here during the boom.”

His contributions to NID were enormous. Local journalist Dave Carter, who has covered the water district for many years, had this to say about Bierwagen: “I put him in that unique small group of community leaders such as Bob Paine and Eric Rood, who served their entire lives in some capacity.”

In his 25 years on the board, Bierwagen only missed two meetings.

During his final days on the board, Bierwagen said he was fortunate to have been placed on Earth to serve.

Not nearly as fortunate as Nevada County was to have him.

Farewell, dear friend. You will be missed.

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