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Nancy "Reenie" Ernest

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Nancy "Reenie" Ernest Obituary
Nancy "Reenie" Ernest

Knoxville, TN

Nancy "Reenie" Ernest died unexpectedly this past Thursday morning, September 13, 2018, with her husband, Hal, at her side. A graduate of Knoxville High School and a Chi Omega at the University of Tennessee, she was a person of many talents and a friend to all. During her years in Vero Beach, Florida, with her husband, Paul Gieselmann, and family, she helped run the most popular motel in the area, in addition to serving as a prominent member of the local Episcopalian Church. After her husband, Paul, died, she returned to Knoxville where she became the first-ever Patient Advocate at Baptist Hospital. Later, on her own volition, she became a missionary in the fabled Kakamega Rainforest in Kenya. There, she founded a nonprofit organization, Rachel's Lament, which supports the education and job training of needy children in Kenya. Over a period of twenty-seven years, she provided education, as well as food, clothing, and shelter to scores of children, many of them orphaned by the Aids crisis. The people of Kenya revered her, and called her "Mama Reenie;" several of the women naming their baby girls after her Reenie said, "in the Old Testament, Rachel was lamenting for the future of the children of Israel, and we are lamenting for the future of the children of Kenya." This Charity is still going strong, manned by a loyal group of Knoxvillians who have been with her for over twenty years. She would spend half of the year in Kenya during the non-raining season, and the other half in her hometown of Knoxville. At home, she was active in Church work, and supported a multitude of other charities. She served as a source of light and of love wherever she went. In 2005, she married Hal Ernest, and the 13-plus years of their marriage were filled with Love. She is survived by her husband, Hal; four children, Paul, Nancy, Rob, and Pete Gieselmann; step-children, and wives, Hal Ernest III and Becky, Fred and Teresa; grandchildren, Carrie Wallace, JP, Christina, Max, Tate, and Tilly Gieselmann, Catherine and Hollie Ernest, and Kallie Curran. Funeral service will be held at 11am on Friday, September 21 at Apostles Anglican Church, Rev. Jack King officiating. The family will receive friends following the service. Interment will be at 3pm at Lynnhurst Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made at Online condolences may be made at
Published in Knoxville News Sentinel from Sept. 15 to Sept. 17, 2018
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