Ernst Franz Smitka (90) of Hope Mills passed away peacefully on September 26, 2020 at Bethesda Nursing Care Facility of Eastover. Ernst was born on July 17th, 1930 in Winterberg, Germany to Dolf and Erna Smitka.
Ernst started his education in Germany where he earned multiple degrees and furthered his education in the US earning degrees in History, Math, German and his Teaching Degree at Campbell College.
Ernst served over 26 years in the United States Army from May 1951 to April of 1977 when he retired at the rank of Sergeant Major. During his Military Career he served much of his time at Fort Bragg in the 82nd Airborne Division, Special Forces and the Airborne Communications and Electronics (ACE) Board and also served in Germany, Africa, the Middle East and was deployed twice to Vietnam. He had a very distinguished career and was highly decorated, earning multiple awards and medals, including 2 Purple Hearts and The Bronze Star. He remained active as a member of both the Special Forces Association and the Special Forces Top Enlisted Association.
After retiring from the U.S. Army, he went on to work as a surveyor for Cumberland County and then went on to complete his career at Pine Forest Senior High School where he taught for approximately 15 years and was their Soccer Coach for 5. He also taught continued adult education at Fayetteville Technical Community College.
Ernst married the love of his life Vincenza M. Parisio in June of 1957 in Chicago Illinois. He was a loving, caring and devoted husband who always referred to his wife as his “Better Half” because he knew that it was not his efforts alone, but theirs together that made them, their marriage and family so amazing. Their loving marriage of over 63 years served as a tremendous example to their 3 children and others.
Ernst is survived by his wife Vincenza Smitka; his daughter and son-in-law, Sharon and Glenwood McLaurin; his son and daughter-in-law, Ernst and Lori Smitka; his son, Frank Smitka, 4 Grand Children; 2 Great Grandchildren; and his sister, Ilse Thomas.
Funeral services will be held Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 11am at Jernigan-Warren Chapel. The family will receive friends from 10am to 11am at Jernigan-Warren Funeral Home . Burial will follow in Sandhills State Veterans Cemetery with military honors. Due to COVID restrictions no more than 25 people will be allowed in the visitation at a time. Social Distancing and wearing of masks are required.
Online condolences may be sent to www.jerniganwarren.com
Arrangements by Jernigan-Warren Funeral Home, 545 Ramsey St. Fayetteville, NC 28301.
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