Ernest D. Mariani
1926 - 2020
{ "" }
Share
Share Ernest's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
Ernest D. Mariani
1926 ~ 2020
Ernest D. Mariani, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, died peacefully on August 14th, 2020 due to natural causes.
Born to Italian immigrants in Salt Lake City on November 20th, 1926, Ernest was the first member of his family to attend both college and law school (University of Utah, classes of '48 & '51) and served honorably in the United States Army during World War II.
In a remarkable, seven-decade career, Ernest enjoyed a much deserved, nearly unrivaled reputation as a skilled and honest businessman, first joining his father at the E.F. Mariani Company, only to later take over as Chairman and CEO upon his dad's retirement in 1978. Under Ernest's leadership, the company grew significantly, nearly quadrupling its number of employees and expanding its territory from the intermountain region to the entire western United States.
What's particularly revealing of Ernest's character is how he responded to tragedy. In 1971, the top executives at Pyke Manufacturing Co., including Ernest's brother-in-law Frank, were killed when their commercial airplane collided in midair with a military jet. As the sole surviving trustee, Ernest stepped in as acting President with the hope of keeping the decimated company afloat to protect the financial security of the grieving families. He ended up remaining at this post for 23 years, during which time, the company not only survived but thrived, nearly tripling in size.
In addition to running two successful companies, Ernest was very active in the Salt Lake community at large, serving on the Board of Trustees for both Holy Cross and St. Mark's Hospitals, as well as Director of the National Association of Manufacturers, President of the Utah Manufacturers Association, Vice President of the Utah State Board of Regents, Chairman of the Utah Higher Education Finance Committee, Chairman of the American Apparel Association, and an Advisory Board Member for First Security Bank, Utah State Business, and the University of Utah. He also served as President of the Salt Lake Country Club.
But even more impressive than Ernest's extensive business resume was his devotion to his family. He married Geraldene Thompson in 1950 and, together, raised three children: Lynne (d. 1994, Michael Zimmerman), Leigh (Joel VandenAkker), and E. Marc (Michelle) Mariani, who, in turn, blessed him with nine grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren. He was also very close to, and is survived by, his sister Jeanne Kimball. After the death of his beloved wife Geri in 1991, Ernest married Isabel Diaz, who pre-deceased him in 2019.
In his leisure time, Ernest enjoyed golfing, baseball, and coaching little league. He was a prolific reader and a proud Catholic who cherished his faith throughout his entire life.
The family would like to especially thank Meleane Mahe, who cared for Ernest in his final years. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no public funeral service is being held. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to either the University of Utah Music Department or St. Ambrose Church.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Salt Lake Tribune from Aug. 23 to Aug. 25, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
11 entries
August 29, 2020
I am sending much love to Marc, Michelle, Leigh, Joel, Auntie Jeanne, and the all the Mariani family. Ernie became a hero to all the Pykes in 1971. He will always be remembered with gratitude and love for stepping into a difficult situation that desperately needed his talents. While he had amazing business acumen, his kindness and magnetic personality earned him the devotion of many. I am among them.
Gayle Pyke Griffith
August 28, 2020
So sad to hear of the passing of this man who was the father to Marc; He is mine and my wifes surgeon who assisted us with hip replacements. We are so grateful to him; and know that he must have had an amazing father who taught his son, the values of integrity, kindness, a good work ethic. He took such great care of us.
We are sad to hear of the loss of his father. Although we never knew him, we send our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to the family.

Sincerely, Art & Janet Hurzeler
Arthur Hurzeler
Acquaintance
August 25, 2020
Your dad was a great man and loved my sister, Janice, like a second father.
He was a remarkable who served his family and community with grace and skill. A life well lived.
Jonne Ashton Wheadon
Friend
August 25, 2020
August 25, 2020
Marc, so sorry for your loss . Ernie was indeed a joy to be around . I will
always remember the hole in one he made several years ago in Phoenix. I was blessed to know Ernie through our relationship. In the
brief amount of time in his presence, there was no doubt that he was indeed a kind and gentle man who loved his family very much. May you
and yours find solace in knowing you were a part of a life well lived.
Les bricker
Friend
August 24, 2020
Oh, Leigh Leigh. So sorry for your loss and Marc's and all as well. Great man and kind man. Take care. No doubt he is in the arms of the Savior with Lynne and Geri and all. There is a star in the heaven burning brightly for all to see. Pick out the Ernie star. He will guide the way. Deepest sympathy. Leigh von der Esch
leigh von der Esch
Friend
August 24, 2020
I will forever be grateful for the kindness and empathy Ernest offered me and my family when my husband died in a corporate plane crash. Ernest reached out with words of comfort and concern for me and my family. I had always thought Ernest knew my husband through the food and beverage industry, and me from the bank. I didn’t realize until reading his obituary that he had experienced a similar tragedy.
I’m so sorry for your loss and hope you find comfort, not only in your own memories, but in the stories from others whose lives were positively impacted by your father.
Kathleen Barber
Kathleen Barber
Friend
August 24, 2020
I'm so sorry to learn of the passing of Earnest, I worked from the Pyke Manufacturing company after graduating from high school back in 1969 and worked there for 8 years. We were all saddened after learning if the accident that took the lives of the company heads. I always loved working there and have m any wonderful memories.
Sincerely,
Louise Redmond
Coworker
August 23, 2020
To Dr. Marc Mariani: so sorry to hear of your father‘s passing. It is always difficult to lose a parent. Don’t know if you remember me, but you have been such a kind and caring doctor to me that I wanted to offer my condolences. He must’ve been a great man to raise such a caring and good doctor.
Dessie Manousakis
August 23, 2020
to Leigh and Mark: I was so sad to hear about your Dad's passing. I have many fond memories of our two families growing up together. Your Dad always took a kind personal interest in all of us Vetter kids. He was so loving at my parents funerals. I feel certain that somewhere there is a happy reunion, at last, for Jerry and Ernie and Anne and Ed.
Teresa Vetter
Friend
August 23, 2020
We didn’t know Ernest, but was well acquainted with Leigh and Joel, and Leigh often spoke fondly of her father. Our condolences go out to the whole family. We know Ernest was an amazing, caring man and loved his family dearly.
Bill and Sharon Larkin
Friend
August 22, 2020
Ernie was a great person and although I generally only was able to see him once a year, I always looked forward to visiting with him. He will be greatly missed.
Jim P Riska
Coworker
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences