Harold L. “Hal” Ernest


Harold L. “Hal” Ernest

Knoxville, Knox County, Tennessee, USA
Death 14 Jan 2021 (aged 89)
Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, USA
Burial Knoxville, Knox County, Tennessee, USA
Memorial ID 225228584 View Source
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Obituary - (Knoxville News Sentinel (TN) - Sunday, January 24, 2021, Memphis - Harold ( Hal) L. Ernest Jr., a lifelong resident of Knoxville, Tennessee, died peacefully on the 14th of January in Memphis Tennessee where he had moved in 2019 to be closer to family. Hal was born in Knoxville on the 3rd of June of 1931 to Harold "Doc" and Margaret Mann Ernest.

The Ellis & Ernest (E&E) Drugstore on the corner of the University of Tennessee campus and all things UT would play significant roles in Hal's later life. He attended Sequoyah Elementary School, Tyson Junior High School and The Baylor School of Chattanooga, when it was an all- boys military academy. Doc Ernest & Coach Robert Neyland arrived in Knoxville at the same time in 1926 and became close friends. So at 6 years of age and for several years Hal would be invited by Coach Neyland to sit on the bench during some of UT's home games. Hal attended the University of Tennessee from 1949 -1953 graduating with a Communications Degree. He was a member and president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, Skit Writer / Director for their yearly Carnicus skits, a member of the UT Pep Club and had involvement in the the University's Radio Station - WUOT. Hal's real talents were story-telling and acting. His career began in the early years of The Carousel Theater, Knoxville's first theater built expressly for locally produced drama. Rumor also has it that Hal's involvement with the UT Pep Club included being on the Committee that helped set the stage for the selection of the very first Smokey Hound Dog Mascot. As a UT Alumni - Hal was also one of the original members of Coach Ray Mear's Orange Tie Club, back in the good old days of watching basketball in Stokely.

After graduating from UT, Hal began his career in Broadcasting by first serving a 1-year Internship at NBC's Original Studios in New York City and then beginning in radio broadcasting on some of Knoxville's young radio stations such as WNOX. He transitioned to Knoxville Television by working as a broadcaster at WROL-TV (NBC) which later became WATE-TV. Hal famously had a live afternoon children's show called "Captain Hal". Hal took what he learned from radio and television and began a life-long career with Knoxville's advertising agencies, first with the Charles Tombras Agency and then with Lavidge & Associates. Some of Hal's advertising accounts ran the gamut from Blue Circle Hamburgers, to BIKE /Schutt Football helmets, to his work with Bristol Motor Speedway. He advertised the Bristol races with some of the legendary NASCAR drivers such as: Richard Petty, Donnie and Bobby Allison and the Yarbrough Brothers.

Hal loved to day hike in the Smokies, listen to Jazz, play tennis, and "Run The Boulevard" of Sequoyah Hills every weekday. You could set your watch by where Hal was on his 5-mile route each morning. Hal was an active member for Sequoyah Hills Presbyterian Church in the 1960's until to the 2000's; and then a member of Apostle's Anglican Church from 2008 until 2019 where he thoroughly enjoyed singing with their choir. In Memphis one of Hal's most favorite activities was going on long walks in the local parks with his family. And finally, he always loved watching his boys play baseball - always.

Hal was married to the former Joann (Jody) Black (1956-until her death in 2004) and to Nancy (Reenie) Lay Gieselmann (2005-until her death in 2018). Hal and Jody had two sons; Hal (Becky) Ernest and Fred (Teresa) Ernest and three grandchildren (Hollie Ernest (Tom Phillips) and Catherine Ernest and Kathleen Ernest Curran (David).

Hal's family would be honored to have Memorial donations made to any of these organizations: Saint Jude's Hospital -

Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee - Rachel's Lament -

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  • Created by: bwalton
  • Added: 2 Apr 2021
  • Find a Grave Memorial 225228584
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Harold L. “Hal” Ernest (3 Jun 1931–14 Jan 2021), Find a Grave Memorial ID 225228584, citing Lynnhurst Cemetery, Knoxville, Knox County, Tennessee, USA ; Maintained by bwalton (contributor 49735568) .