|Birth: ||Feb. 7, 1918|
|Death: ||May 8, 1999|
San Joaquin County
Ernest "Ernie", was a native of Livermore and was the 7th of 11 children born to Rosie and Manuel P. Vargas who raised their children in the Collier Canyon Hills. Ernie graduated from Highland School in Livermore and later, from Central Trade School in Oakland, where he learned the trade of welding. He married Isabel Maciel in 1941 and they settled in Oakland while Ernie welded in the Richmond shipyards during World War II. He was drafted in 1945, after he left the shipyards, and served in the U.S. Army as a military policeman at the rank of private first class with the 493rd Military Escort Guard Company in Yokohama during the occupation of Japan from the fall of 1945 until May of 1946.
Upon returning home from the military, he and his wife and young daughter, Susan, settled in what was then Centerville, California (now a part of the city of Fremont). Ernie opened his own shop, Vargas Welding, which was located on Baine Avenue until 1960, when he started Ernest E. Vargas Harvesting. Ernie harvested grain and corn in the Fremont area and in the Sao Joaquin Valley and changed the name of his business to Ernest E. Vargas & Son in 1976 when his son, Emanuel, joined him in the business. The family moved to Tracy in 1964 and built a home on Corral Hollow Road. They owned three harvesters, which could be seen flying the U.S. flag, a tradition started by Ernie's father, who also did commercial harvesting. Ernie's oldest grandson, John Murphy, joined him and Emanuel during the last few summers of his career and he was very proud that three generations of his family were driving the harvesters.
Ernie could really fix anything that was broken! He was a very skilled mechanic, often spending long hours in the off season in the shop that he built behind his home. He was a wonderful story teller and would entertain his family, especially his grandchildren, with tales of his life adventures. Ernie had many mishaps in his life that made good subject matter for these tales. He was in an explosion in his welding shop that threw him out of the building. He survived a motorcycle accident that put him a coma for some time. Ernie lost a thumb while cleaning out his harvester and also fell off a huge ladder onto the concrete floor of his shop. All of these things he told in great detail, with his wide blue eyes twinkling, to his even wider eyed grandchildren. He loved his children and grandchildren very much and he was a very good and kind person.
After the death of his wife, Isabel, he was very lonely. The minister at his church said he had never seen anyone mourn as long and deeply as Ernie did. He had always been a homebody and this new chapter in his life was an opportunity for growth for him. He became a volunteer at Sutter Tracy Community Hospital and was recognized for more than 1,500 hours of service. He also traveled numerous times to the Azores, in particular to the island of his father's birth, Faial. Portuguese was Ernie's first language and he enjoyed using this skill on these trips. He wanted to know the Azores as his father had known them and he accomplished this on one particular trip when he stayed there for three months with relatives. The highlight of these trips was his last one, when he took his son, Emanuel, and daughter-in-law, Lisa, on a tour of the islands. He took as his roommate his youngest grandchild, Selena and they will always treasure this special time that they spent with their father and grandfather in the land that he loved so much.
He remarried in February of 1999 to Zelda Vargas, who was the widow of his first cousin. They moved into the town of Tracy in his last year and enjoyed fixing up their cosy home. Ernie was a member of St Bernard's Catholic Church and was a longtime member of the Knights of Columbus, however he was never one to become actively involved in organizations during his life. He did enjoy going to lunch at the Widowed Persons Association of California in Tracy and received much consolation in attending bereavement meetings through Hope Hospice in Pleasanton. Ernie had two children, Susan (husband Dave) and Emanuel (wife Lisa) and four grandchildren at the time of his death, who were Susan's children, John and wife Shelley, Joe, Anna and husband Joe, and Selena. He looks down from heaven at the more recent additions to his family which are a grandson Emanuel Vargas, Selena's husband Bryan, and he now has nine great-grandsons, Cooper and Anthony Murphy, Jack, David, Joe and Daniel Ryan, and George, Henry, and Joseph Srabian. His great-grandson David was born on his birthday in 2000, the first year that we were missing Ernie. Two of his great-grandsons carry his name as their middle name (David and Henry). Ernie was so loved and will be missed forever by those that ever knew his love.
Manuel Pereira Vargas (1882 - 1960)
Rosie A. Vargas (1888 - 1981)
Isabel Inez Maciel Vargas (1923 - 1989)
Erma Dorothy Vargas Bettencourt (1907 - 2005)*
Margaret Winifried Vargas Perry (1908 - 1956)*
Anna Perry Vargas (1910 - 1920)*
Rosalie Ethel Vargas Glass (1912 - 2008)*
Elsie Dolores Vargas Anderson (1914 - 1997)*
Manuel Vargas (1916 - 1916)*
Ernest Eugene Vargas (1918 - 1999)
Herman Norman Vargas (1920 - 1981)*
Edward Melvin Vargas (1922 - 1999)*
Derinda Vivian Vargas (1925 - 1926)*
UNITED STATES ARMY - WORLD WAR II
Tracy Public Cemetery
San Joaquin County
Created by: Susan Vargas Murphy
Record added: Aug 17, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 20994120