FARMINGTON - Ernest "Babbitts" M. Columbia, 93, of Farmington, Ill., passed away at 2:52 a.m. Sunday, May 18, 2014, at UnityPoint Health-Methodist in Peoria, Ill.
He was born Aug. 16, 1920, in Farmington, the son of Tom and Philippina Columbia. He married Margie James, from Canton, Ill., in 1950.
He is survived by his daughter, Victoria "Vicci" Columbia of East Peoria; one grandson, Todd Boldt; two great-grandchildren, Christopher and Candice; and two great-great-grandchildren, Anthony and Dominic.
He was preceded in death by his parents, six brothers and two sisters.
Ernest attended Western Illinois University on a football scholarship, then enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He was a signalman, serving two tours of duty during World War II, in which he received an American Theatre Ribbon and two Asiatic Pacific Theatre stars. He was present during the "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima."
Ernest retired from Hiram Walker Distillery.
He was a member of St. Matthew's Catholic Church in Farmington, the Farmington American Legion Post 140 and the Farmington Moose Lodge 1571.
He loved sports, gardening and spending time with his family.
Services will be at 2 p.m. today, May 22, at Anderson-Sedgwick Funeral Home in Farmington, with visitation one hour prior. Father Paul Stiene will officiate. Burial, with military honors, will follow in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Farmington.
Memorials may be made to the Farmington American Legion Post 140 or Farmington Historical Society and Museum.
To view Ernest's memorial DVD and submit online condolences, go to www.sedgwickfuneralhomes.com.