Vale Ernie: August 16, 1939 – February 19, 2018

Ernie receiving his lifetime club membership September 21, 2012

Ernie Richards (or Ernie ‘Ridges’), long time member of the Central Australian Bushwalkers Association of over thirty years, was born in the Samuel Merritt Hospital (now the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center) in Oakland, California in the United States of America to Ernest William and Jessie Maud Richards (nee Hartwig).

Ernie (front row, middle) aged 23 in the US Air Force, 1962.

He grew up in the US and served in the US Airforce, Instrument Repair division at Travis Air Force Base, California, until 1965.
He first worked making bows and was an accomplished Archer, before he studied accounting and became an Auditor for various companies, including Colgate-Palmolive and Nabisco.

Ernie Hood

But it’s as a passionate bushwalker that Ernie is best known for and for his unwavering support of the club – offering to drop off and pick up walkers, bring his walkie-talkies and have a car boot full of gear – extra water bottles, sticks, gaiters, walking schedules and membership forms.
Peter Nowak, who first met Ernie in 1986, penned a glowing tribute for the man who loves shortcuts and ridge walking. Read it here:

Life for ERNIE

He continued to walk, as much as he was physically capable, with his dog Frankie around the Eastside hills, the ‘Wash Basin track’ being his favourite. He often fell down, but as long as he was able to get up, Ernie continued walking.
In his final few months, Ernie was diagnosed with a terminal illness that took away his independence.
Interestingly, for someone with a terminal illness, he developed a really good appetite and actually gained weight.
He entertained a stream of old friends and acquaintances in his house, and always had second and third helpings, dessert, second dessert with an ever present glass or two of aged red wine. Then he’d get up a couple of times in the night to eat some more.
He chose to live out his last short period at home, at peace and in full readiness to leave this world, having lived a full life.
In the end, he welcomed Death like an old long-awaited friend and they both went on their long walk together.


About centralozbushwalkers

We are an incorporated association, but really we are an informal group of bushwalkers. We conduct day and overnight walks in Central Australia, both on- and off-track. Visitors and new members are welcome on the walks.
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One Response to Vale Ernie: August 16, 1939 – February 19, 2018

  1. NH says:

    Very nice Nick!

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