The funeral will be held from Brandon Funeral Home, 305 Wanoosnoc Rd., Fitchburg on Monday, April 15 with a Mass in St. Joseph Church in Fitchburg at 10am. Burial will follow in the parish cemetery. Calling hours will be held on Sunday, April 14, from 4-6pm in the funeral home.
Fitchburg – Ernest J. Niles, Sr., 94, passed away peacefully on April 8, in the Highlands Nursing Home surrounded by his loving family.
Ernie was born in Fitchburg on May 30, 1924, son of the late David and Olive (Doiron) Niles. He attended Fitchburg High School. Ernie was an Army Veteran of WWII, serving from 1943 until his honorable discharge in 1946 as a heavy machine gunner. He toured throughout the Philippines, Luzon, New Guinea, and New Caledonia, receiving the Good Conduct medal, Victory medal, Asiatic Pacific Theater campaign ribbon, and the Philippine Liberation ribbon with bronze service star.
Ernie spent his career working for the City of Fitchburg, and after retirement, he worked part time at the public library. He was a member of the YMCA, St. Joseph’s Club, lifetime member of the American Legion and DAV, parishioner of St. Joseph’s Church and also attended St. Francis Church.
Ernie was well known as “fireball” being a great left-handed pitcher and played for St. Joseph’s Club and the Eagles Club. During his Army service in the Philippines, he was the pitcher in an All-Star game against several Major Leaguers including Dom DiMaggio of the Boston Red Sox.
For many years, Ernie has enjoyed watching TV, traveling, especially to the casinos, walking, cycling, and running. He always enjoyed bowling and playing horseshoes, and will be fondly remembered for collecting cans to cash in on his frequent long walks.
He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Constance (Belliveau) Niles; children, Bernice St. Jean and husband Dennis, Ernie Niles, Jr., Christine Burby and husband John, Michael Niles and wife Mary, Paul Niles and wife Laura; seven grandchildren, David St. Jean and wife Eileen, Christopher St. Jean and wife Jennifer, Jeremy Burby and fiancé Kristy Agnelli, Brian Niles, Teresa Niles, Matthew Niles, Catherine Niles; five great grandchildren, Matthew St. Jean, Dennis “DJ” St. Jean, Alex Burby, Lauren Burby and Gordon Niles. Ernie is also survived by his sister Dorothy Dunn, brother Alfred “Freddie” Niles, several sisters and brothers in law, nieces, and nephews.
Ernie was predeceased by his sister Sarah Austin.