ERNEST 'ERNIE' ARTHUR SCHLICHTING, 82 ROCKFORD - Ernest "Ernie" Arthur Schlichting, 82, Rockford, died peacefully at home next to his best friend and wife, Shirley on Saturday, May 4, 2013. Born September 27, 1930, in Bertha, MN, son of Carl and Laura (Decker) Schlichting. Married Shirley Johnson on March 10, 1951 in Eagle Bend, MN. He was the founder (1968) and owner of Schlichting & Sons Excavating, Inc. Although Ernie and Shirley oversaw decades of business success, at heart he was always a workman, a craftsman. He was an artist that sculpted with a 10 ton machine to create masterpieces in God's own earth. His was a dedication to clients, employees and family that always resulted in a job well done. He strove for perfection in his professional life and fueled it with amazing energy, hard work, great integrity and a strong moral compass. He was loved by many who knew him as family and friend but respected by all whose paths he crossed. He is survived by wife, Shirley; daughter, Connie DiGiovanni; sons, Robert (Pamela), Steven (Roberta) and Bruce Schlichting. He shared an extremely close bond with surviving granddaughter, Brooke (Rob) Anderson and grandson, Rob (Danielle) Schlichting and was loved by grandchildren, Nick and David DiGiovanni, Travis (Holli), Mark (Erica), Jake, Brian and Lisa Schlichting, Jennifer (Nick) LaShock. Additional survivors include 9 great-grandchildren; sisters, Rosemary Salzwedel and Donna Schlichting; dear friends, Marilyn and Gene Taylor. Predeceased by his parents and grandson, Philip DiGiovanni. Ernie was a member of Willow Creek Presbyterian Church, Local 150 International Operating Engineers Union, and former member of the Northern Illinois Building Contractors Association and the Moose Club. He and Shirley were members of Naples Heritage Golf and Country Club in Naples, FL. He enjoyed the many winters they were able to spend in Florida playing golf and sharing dinners with new friends and old and with family. Ernie loved to compete whether it be card games, golf or crossword puzzles. He has imbued his generations of family with that strong competitive spirit and was always a vocal supporter at his children's and grandchildren's contests. He loved the music of Johnny Cash and that generation of Country entertainers. He was a very caring and generous man who gave in his normal quiet and unassuming way. Ernie's life was simple in plan and execution enjoying hard work or a night out with Shirley and friends equally. His was a life well lived. Shirley and the family would like to extend heartfelt gratitude to Nurse Paula, RN and CNA Claire for their special attention in caring for Ernie during his last days. Your kindness, gentleness and respect were much appreciated. Funeral service at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 9, 2013 in Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory, Mulford Chapel, 1860 S. Mulford Rd., with Pastor Ken Schmoyer, Hospice Care of America Chaplain, officiating. Entombment in Sunset Memorial Gardens Mausoleum. Visitation from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Hospice Care of America or Rockford Rescue Mission. Express condolences and share memories at www.fitzgeraldfh.com.
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Published in Rockford Register Star from May 7 to May 8, 2013