Ernest "Ernie" Herrera Sr.

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Ernest "Ernie" Herrera, Sr.


Ernie passed away peacefully at home on Friday, May 10, 2013 after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease. He was surrounded by his loving family for many days prior to his death. Ernie lived a full life and worked until age 74, as the president of Temputer, Inc., the agricultural electronics company he founded in 1971 and is owned and operated as Temputech, Inc. (Byhalia, MS) by his son Tom.

Ernie was born in Chicago on November 22, 1931 to Mexican-American migrant farm workers, Valentin Herrera and Petra Arizola Herrera. Immediately after his birth, his family moved to Iowa. As he grew up, his family followed the farm seasons between Texas and Iowa. Ernie entered the US Coast Guard at the age of 17 and served in Japan as a Communications Specialist during the Korean War.

His second marriage was to his beloved wife Gale Hodum Herrera and many of their first years were spent in Memphis TN. Throughout his life Ernie was an avid boater, gardener, music lover, history buff, and tractor lover (Allis Chalmers). They both loved animals and he and Gale rescued many cats, dogs, rabbits and birds, instilling that love of animals into their children and grandchildren. He was a man that planned his schedule around the Iowa Hawkeye football, basketball, and wrestling seasons. Ernie was driven by his passion for work and instilled a strong work ethic in his family. He was a very compassionate person who cared deeply for his family and friends, and they cared deeply for him. He was a Christian, having accepted Christ upon the death of his father-in-law and best friend, Lacy Hodum. His bucket list was complete.

Ernie is survived by Gale, his devoted wife of 37 years. Their blended family and his survivors are: daughter Jackie Lynn (Doug) Brown and grandchildren Tony and Angie; son Skip (Janie) and grandsons Brandon (Trisha), Ethan (Amy), and Nicholas; daughter Dondi (Bob) Kolarick and grandson Michael Fields; son Tom (Joy) and grandchildren: Drea (Rick) Cruz, Tommy, and Mark; daughter Martha (Roger) Rowley and granddaughter Julie (Billy) Johnson; granddaughter Elisa Williams; son Joe (Nanci) and grandchildren: Anna (Nick) Pauly, Amanda (Rick) Charlton, Christopher (Brittney), Patrick, and Andrew; son Michael (Patrice) and grandchildren Summer Renee Marnin, Amber (Scott) Rowley, Savannah (Stephen) Reynolds, Michelle, Alicia (Colton) Bane, Laura Wheelock, and Brandon Wheelock; daughter Miki Reinier and grandchildren: Nicole Reinier (Ryan) and Philip (Carrie); son Brad (Jill) and grandchildren Brayden and Ella. Also, he is survived by his sister, Hope Domingues and brothers John and Toby; mother-in-law Lurlie Colby; mother-in-law Peggy Hodum; sister-in-law Reyna (Wade) Evans; brothers-in-law Bobby (Janice) and Michael (Jill) Hodum; loving niece Linda (Duane) Quinn, and special caretaker Barb Argenta. He also leaves 36 great grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, and his special puppy Scrappy.

Preceded in death by his mother, father, daughter Maria Elena, son-in-law Philip Reinier, brother Vonnie, sister Mary Crispen, fathers-in-law Lacy Hodum and Reginald Colby.

The family is especially grateful to granddaughter Trisha Herrera, for her devotion and care which allowed Ernie to be at home. This was his wish. Also to Becky Bunkers (Mercy Hospice), Hospice of Central Iowa, and Hy-Vee Pharmacy (Altoona).

Ernie has been cremated. Visitation will be on Sunday, May 12 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Merle Hay Funeral Home at Chapel Hill, Des Moines IA. Family funeral service will precede the visitation. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Animal Rescue League of Iowa (ARL).


Funeral Home
Merle Hay Funeral Home - Des Moines
4400 Merle Hay Road
Des Moines, IA 50310
(515) 278-4633
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Published in Des Moines Register from May 11 to May 12, 2013
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