Ernest Blanchet was born in Troy New York on June 18, 1913. As one of 12 children, Ernie found that he had to go to work at an early age to help support his family. He worked in local textile mills for $12 a week making underwear. Ernie said he has worked for the government all of his life, beginning at age 16, when he made heavy underwear for soldiers. At age 28, and just months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Ernie landed a job at Watervliet Arsenal in 1941. When the United States entered World War II, Ernie joined the Navy and was “a radar man” on the U.S.S. Bivin (Destroyer Escort 536) in the South Pacific. Ernie was designated as the oldest living World War II naval veteran in Kentucky. He retired in 1966. In addition to loving music and dancing, Ernie Blanchet has been a prolific painter of landscapes, portraits and copies of well-known paintings. His grandmother was a singer in France in the 1800s before marrying an American and moving here. And after World War I, his dad toured in a band with Ernie’s uncles and played cornet and banjo. Ernie along with his wife Josie, participated in the Capital District Senior Games, New York State Senior Games at Cortland State and the U.S. National Senior Olympics at St. Louis. He also played horseshoes, golf and bowling in which he won a great deal of tournaments. Into his elder years Ernie enjoyed such leisurely activities included gardening, making elderberry wine and dancing with Elvis impersonators. He always said: “To live a long life you need to keep moving.”
He is survived by two daughters, Penelope Ann King of Melbourne, Fl and Nancy Coonradt of Troy, NY; seven grandchildren, Thomas Kehn, Edward Kehn, Marjorie Augustine, Nancy Coonradt, Hilton Coonradt and Aaron Coonradt.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Arthur Blanchet and Marion Gertrud McHugh Blanchet; wife, Josephine T. Blanchet, son, Kevin Blanchet; five brothers, Arthur Blanchet, Roland Blanchet, Howard Blanchet, Gilbert Blanchet and Charles Blanchet and five sisters, Florence Blanchet, Gertrude Blanchet, Lillian Blanchet, Mildren Blanchet and Bernice Blanchet.
A private memorial service will be held at a later date in New York.