November 2, 1935 – March 25, 2021
Colonel (retired) Ernie Zuick passed away peacefully on March 25, 2021 in Sacramento, California. He is predeceased by his parents and his brother and sister. His love of his life, soulmate, wife of nearly 54 years and best friend, Johnnie Zuick also predeceased Ernie just one year earlier. He is survived by three sisters-in-law, many cousins and several nieces and nephews. Ernie was a unique man who loved the finer things in life. His quick wit, kind heart, generous soul and attention to detail was something he shared with everyone he met. He enjoyed talking about politics, foreign policy and the most recently-released movie. He loved to laugh and had an uncanny ability to recall facts about a wide variety of subjects. He truly enjoyed life, yet his spirit was forever dimmed when he lost Johnnie. Ernie and Johnnie met on a blind date in Turlock, California. They married in 1966 soon after Ernie completed graduate school at Fresno State College. They immediately became inseparable. Theirs was an ideal marriage. They enjoyed one another immensely and Ernie often said, Johnnie was all he needed.
Ernie was born in San Bernardino, California and was the oldest of three children. He was an excellent student who graduated with honors from high school. Following graduation, on May 17, 1958, Ernie enlisted in the California Air National Guard as an Airman Basic and rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant. After completing over ten years of enlisted service, he was appointed as a First Lieutenant on March 31, 1969 and ultimately attained the rank of full Colonel on December 30, 1985. Ernie served the California Air National Guard with distinction for over 37 years. His military positions included Administrative Officer, Public Affairs Officer, Administrative Management Officer and Education and Training Officer. Ernie also had the distinct honor to serve as a member of the adjunct staff of the Reserve Forces Policy Board, Office of the Secretary of Defense from 1982 to 1995. Ernie is the only staff member of the California Air National Guard to wear the Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge.
Ernie had a robust civilian career while serving simultaneously in the California Air National Guard. He began his civilian career with the Turlock Jounal, but left to join the staff of the Fresno Bee as a Writer. His exceptional literary talents were recognized and sought out by the California Military Department and in June, 1976, Major General Leonardo, Commander, California Air National Guard, hired Ernie on State Active Duty as an Administrative Service Officer. Ernie would continue on State Active Duty until his retirement in 2004, serving admirably for over 28 years. He held several State Active Duty positions, including Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff, Air Division, Chief, Office of Policy and Liaison and Chief of Public Affairs where he reported directly to the Assistant Adjutant General and The Adjutant General.
Ernie held a Bachelor and Master of Arts degree in Art from Fresno State College; a Master of Public Administration degree from Auburn University, and secondary and community college teaching credentials. His military education included the Air Command and Staff College, the Air War College, and the National Defense Strategy Seminar. His highest military decoration is the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.
Ernie will be missed by many, especially his sister-in-law, Katie Lemons, long time care giver Mabel Tetteh, Guard friends, Bob Pack, Sylvia Crockett and Mirtha Villarreal-Younger. His kindness and quirkiness will be missed most. He is at peace with his love, Johnnie.
Private services and entombment will be held at Turlock Memorial Park.