Ernest Spilman

Ernest Benjamin “Ernie” Spilman, 92, of Motley, died December 30, 2020, at his home.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. 

Private interment was held at the Poplar Cemetery, Leader.

Ernie was born May 6, 1928 to Benjamin and Mable (Noyes) Spilman at Hinkley. The family moved to Leader in 1939, where Ernie attended school through the eighth grade. He then headed to western Minnesota, where he worked on his uncle’s farm near Fergus Falls, worked harvesting ice and a variety of other jobs.He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict and received the Purple Heart for wounds received as a result of action with enemy forces. He married Leona Gebbie on August 13, 1955 at Sisseton, SD. They made their home in Fargo before moving to California where he worked for Boeing Aircraft. They returned to the Leader in the mid-1960’s and he began working part-time for the Minnesota Highway Department. He had also worked as a welder at Sadusky’s and drove school bus for a time. They moved to Motley in 1969, when he began working full-time with the highway department doing highway maintenance. Ernie retired in 1986 and he and Leona wintered at Mathis, Texas.  Leona died in 1998 and Ernie continued to winter in Texas for a few years after her death.  

Ernie enjoyed fishing, winding copper, carpentry, welding, farming and animals. He also enjoyed his grandkids and spending time at their cabin on Shamineau Lake.  He served as Commander of the American Legion, was a member of the DAV and the VFW.  He served on the Motley City Council and the Leader Town Board, worked with the Fair Share Program, was a member of the Lion’s Club. He also served with the Fire Department, planted trees with Ralph Nutter, and worked measuring (surveying?) Cass County.

Ernie is survived by two daughters, Susan Mary Carlson (Dale Jacobs) of Willow, Alaska and Margaret (Steven) Dille of Staples; one son, Benjamin (Nancy) Spilman of Motley; eight siblings, Edward (Mary) Spilman, Nisswa; Vernon Spilman, Foxhome; Irene Johnson, Fargo, ND; Mary (Tom) Larson, Brooklyn Park; Doug (Eileen) Spilman, Pillager; Elaine Perry (Jim Costa), Sparks, NV; Richard “Butch” (Connie) Spilman, Billings, MT and Wally (Faye) Spilman of Hammond, WI; 12 grandchildren, Erik, Jason, Vesta, Melissa, Christina, John, Lori, Kevin, Nicholas, Shawntell, Robert and Russell; 23 great grandchildren and two great great-grandchildren.

Ernie was preceded in death by his parents; wife,  Leona; special friend, Martha Shequen; six siblings, Josephine Hove, Leroy Spilman, Wayne Spilman, Edna Dahlvang, Marvin Spilman and Donald Spilman; one granddaughter, Jamie Hanson and one great-granddaughter, Danika Tkalcich.

Arrangements by Brenny Family Funeral Chapel of Staples,

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