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Ernest Neal "Ernie" Oldham


05/02/1924 - 07/15/2015 Obituary
Ernest Neal "Ernie" Oldham Obituary
Ernest "Ernie" Neal Oldham, 91, of Bakersfield, California, and formerly of Aspen, Colorado, passed away at home with family by his side on Wednesday, July 15th.
Ernie was born May 2, 1924, in Bakersfield to parents Samuel Neal Oldham and Florence Jackson Oldham. He graduated from Kern County Union High in 1942 and enlisted in the Army Air Corps. After honorable discharge, Ernie worked as a roughneck at the Elk Hills Navel Petroleum Reserve to further help the war effort. Ernie later attended and graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Business Administration. Shortly after graduation, Ernie was married to Janet Eleanor Sargent Oldham of Bakersfield, with whom he raised five children.
Before settling into his successful career of real estate development and owner of Oldham Construction, Ernie tried many varied careers including door-to-door sales for Proctor & Gamble, post-hole digger in Death Valley, insurance adjuster, cotton picking machine owner/operator and soda pop entrepreneur. Ernie's entrepreneurial spirt led him to a never ending array of business opportunities.
Ernie was active in the Bakersfield 20-30 Club, the International Footprint Association, the Elk's Club, and the Businessman's Association. At each step, Ernie made life-long friends and he was well known for his hospitality and engaging personality. Always ready to have a drink and socialize, Ernie was a fixture at local Basque restaurants. Ernie's favorite toast: "Salud y pesetas." Favorite terms of endearment: "Potlicker" and "no-good-nick". Favorite saying: "My name is Eucalyptus Jones and I do it all the time."
Ernie loved being in the mountains; fishing, backpacking, and hunting. His love for the outdoors was passed on to his family through summer vacations that were often spent going camping usually in the Sierras with a trout stream nearby. Winter vacations were also in the mountains; skiing, sledding, and massive snowball fights. Ernie held a pilot's license for most of his life and enjoyed flying small aircraft. His favorite places to fly were to Puerta Vallarta and of course to the mountains.
Ernie spent his last 20 years with his loving friend and significant other Julie Ferguson of Bakersfield. Ernie was proceeded in passing by his daughter Patricia Marie "Rocky" Oldham and survived by his children Christopher and Anne Marie Oldham, son and daughter-in-law, Encinitas, CA; Cynthia Huggins and Daniel Schwartz, daughter and son-in-law, Bakersfield; Glenn Oldham, son, Bakersfield; Susan Taylor, daughter, Hilo, HA; and three grandchildren Joshua, Daniel and Isabelle Oldham.
Salud y pesetas, Ernie!
A remembrance gathering will be held for Ernie from 2 to 5:30 p.m., Saturday, the 25th of July. For details, please email potlickerjones@gmail.com.
Published in Bakersfield Californian on July 21, 2015
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