Virginia Beach, Va. - Ernest "Ernie" or "Nestor" Care died peacefully at home in Sandbridge, Va., on April 13, 2013.
He was born Oct. 5, 1921, in Groton, and grew up in Niantic and New London, where he graduated from the former Bulkeley School and entered the Navy in 1940.
He was predeceased by his parents, Leonardo and Rose Angioletta Care and stepmother, Sarah DiMarco Care; siblings, James and Joseph Care, Mary Mello, Lena Brailey, and Josephine Shelton and step-sibilings, Joseph L. DiMarco, all of the New London/Niantic area, and Angie Paparella of New Haven. His wife, Edith Dyer DiMarco Care, passed away Feb. 9, 2009, on their 50th wedding anniversary.
Ernie entered the U.S. Navy
in November 1940, attended machinist's mate school and Henry Ford School in Dearborn, Mich., and reported aboard the USS Yorktown CV-5 in May of 1941. In May 1942 during the Battle of the Coral Sea, she was struck by a bomb, and in June during the Battle of Midway, she was severely damaged and later sunk. Ernie abandoned ship, was picked up by a destroyer, and returned to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where he assisted in the raising of the USS West Virginia BB-48 and then became a permanent crew member, serving aboard during the battles of the Philippine Sea, Suriago Straits, and Leyte Gulf, and the invasions of Luzon, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. After the war, he became an instructor at air conditioning/refrigeration school in San Diego and was made a chief petty officer in May 1945. In 1947, he reported aboard the USS Hector AR-7. He made several deployments to the combat zone during the Korean War
. He was commissioned as a warrant officer in 1955 and was appointed as a ships superintendent at the Boston Naval Shipyard. In 1957, he reported to the USS Glacier and completed two cruises to the Antarctic. He completed his final two years aboard the USS Cascade AD-14, where he made two Med deployments, retiring from the Navy in 1961.
He was employed at AMF's evaporator lab at Millstone for several years before they relocated to the Gulf Coast and later at General Dynamics Electric Boat, where he finally retired.
Ernie and Edie relocated to Virginia Beach in 2008. Ernie loved working with leather, telling sea stories and bad jokes, reading, and most of all, visiting with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was blessed with a prolific memory, and his sea stories were enchantingly funny. He was also considered "the sweetest guy I've ever known" by all his family, extended family, and friends.
Ernie is survived by a sister, Margaret Anthonis of St. Louis, Mo.; sons, Robert Care (Joanne) of Los Gatos, Calif., Larry Care (Sharon) of Shingle Springs, Calif., and Lynn Care of Reno, Nev.; step children, Susan DiMarco Kenyon (Mort) of Virginia Beach, and Joseph P. DiMarco of Texas; also his grandchildren, Jennifer Kenyon O'Quinn (James) of Augusta, Ga., Collin Kenyon (Stacy) of Virginia Beach, Rachel Care Danner (Steve) of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Becky Care of Hillsboro, Ore. Poppy's great-grandchildren are Collin Quinn Kenyon of Virginia Beach, Ensign William O'Quinn, aboard the USS Gettysburg, Mayport, Fla., and Collin, James, Morton, Thomas, Sarah, Catherine, and Jude O'Quinn of Augusta.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 28, 2013, at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church, Huntington St., New London. Interment with military honors will follow in St. Mary Cemetery, New London.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Heartland Hospice, 5029 Corporate Woods Drive, Suite 200, Virginia Beach, VA 23462.
Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.neilanfuneralhome.com