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Daniel Ernst

Daniel Ernst

Wednesday, September 30th, 1931 - Friday, December 27th, 2019
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Obituary

Daniel Pearson Ernst, 88, of Dubuque, Iowa, died Friday December 27, 2019, at Bethany Home in Dubuque, Iowa.
Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 2, at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, Dubuque, with Reverend Dr. Lillian Daniel officiating. The family will be available for visitation at the church prior to the service at 10 a.m.
Dan was born on September 30, 1931, in Des Moines, Iowa, the only child of Daniel Ward Ernst and Elaine Pearson Ernst of Dubuque. He is survived by his wife of sixty-three years, Ann Robinson Ernst of Dubuque, as well as his three children, Ellen Ernst Kossek of Indiana and Michigan; Daniel Robinson Ernst and Ruth Ann Ernst of Washington, D.C.; and eight grandchildren.
In 1949, he graduated second in his class from Dubuque Senior High School, where his favorite classes were Latin and History and where he played tackle on the football team. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1953 and from the University of Michigan Law School in 1956. After a brief stint in the law department of a Chicago bank, he was commissioned into the Judge Advocate General’s corps of the Air Force and was on active duty for three years, principally at Fairchild Air Force base near Spokane, WA. He credited his advocacy before military tribunals with making him a proficient trial lawyer. He later served three years in the Air Force Reserve.
Dan returned to Dubuque to practice law, with law offices here and in East Dubuque and Galena, where he once served as city attorney. He had a general practice; but also developed a specialty of bankruptcy and served as trustee in over 100 cases. He was president of the Dubuque County Bar Association in 1981-1982 and served on the Board of Governors of the Iowa State Bar Association and on Iowa’s Unauthorized Practice of Law Commission. In 1991, at the age of sixty, he was appointed to head the first Public Defenders Office for Northeast Iowa. During his five years as Chief Defender, he became a passionate advocate of the rights of the criminally accused and proud of the lawyers whom he worked with and who succeeded him.
He was an active Democrat and served for many years on the county party’s central committee member and as a caucus leader and poll watcher. He was elected to the Dubuque Country Democratic Hall of Fame in May 2015.
He volunteered his time generously. Starting in 2006, he served twelve years as a member of the State of Iowa Commission on Aging, including time served as its chair. He was a founding member of the Friends of the Mines of Spain, helped incorporate the non-profit Children at Home, and served on the board of directors of the American Red Cross of the Tri-States and the Dubuque Mental Health Association. For these and other efforts, he received the State of Iowa Governors’ Volunteer award in 2001.
Dan loved Dubuque and the tri-state area, where he was a member of the Mississippi Trails Hiking Club. He also loved spending summers with his wife and family on Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay, near the town of Elk Rapids. He volunteered for fifteen years for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, including serving as flotilla commander and coxswain. He served as Vice President of the Elk Rapids Historical Society and was a member of the town’s Lions Club, happily staffing its hot dog stand during Harbor Days in August.
Dan co-authored three self-published books: The Wadena Rock Festival (2014); The Diplomat and his Daughter (2016), based on the diaries of Dan’s maternal grandfather, who served as the U.S. ambassador to Poland and Finland, and Dan’s mother, who served as her father’s hostess; and an autobiography, Judgment Yet to Be Rendered (2018).
Dan and his family are grateful for the wonderful care provided to Dan by his physicians Sara S. Loetscher and Eric S. Engelman of Medical Associates in Dubuque, William M. Manzel of Mercy Medical Center-Dubuque, Gerald H. Clamon of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and the staff of Bethany Home in Dubuque.
In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, 700 Locust Street, Suite 195, Dubuque, Iowa 52001, with a designation for the Friends of the Mines of Spain, the Clarence Griep Scholarship Fund, Camp Courageous, First Congregational United Church of Christ, or Bethany Home.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Thursday, January 2nd, 2020 | 10:00am - 10:45am
    When
    Thursday, January 2nd, 2020 10:00am - 10:45am
    Location
    First Congregational United Church of Christ
    Address
    255 W. 10th
    DUBUQUE, IA 52001
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Memorial Service

    Thursday, January 2nd, 2020 | 10:00am
    When
    Thursday, January 2nd, 2020 10:00am
    Location
    First Congregational United Church of Christ
    Address
    255 W. 10th
    DUBUQUE, IA 52001
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

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The Friends of the Mines of Spain, Carla Hughes & Matt Hohmann, and others have sent flowers to the family of Daniel Ernst.
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L

lbdigman@frontier.com

Posted at 03:46pm
I am sorry for the loss of your dad. a big chunk of his life was spent at klauer stapleton Ernst and sprengelmeyer,. I remember berneda whitney, Floyd whitney, and mary whitney. so loyal to the cause. many prayers go your way from me, rip dan Ernst. from linda digman.
HS

Heartfelt Sympathies Store

Posted at 06:30pm
It was such sad news to hear of the loss of Grandpa Dan. I am so sorry and am thinking of you. He was so kind to me, and I loved hearing his stories.
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Flowers were purchased for the family of Daniel Ernst. Send Flowers

TS

The Friends of the Mines of Spain

Posted at 05:04pm
Our organization would not be what it is today without your guidance and hard work. We are eternally grateful and indebted to you.
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The Friends of the Mines of Spain purchased the Truly Beloved Bouquet for the family of Daniel Ernst. Send Flowers

CH

Carla Hughes & Matt Hohmann

Posted at 11:22am
With deepest sympathy to Ann and family
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Carla Hughes & Matt Hohmann purchased flowers for the family of Daniel Ernst. Send Flowers

LS

Love, Katie & Brian Rotmil and Allie & Tim Shaw

Posted at 01:55pm
Sending our love to the Ernst and Kossek families. So sorry for your loss, may his memory always be a blessing.
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Love, Katie & Brian Rotmil and Allie & Tim Shaw purchased flowers for the family of Daniel Ernst. Send Flowers

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