NEW?ULM Ernest "Ernie" Sands, 100, of New Ulm, died Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at the Sunwood Good Samaritan Center in Redwood Falls.
Funeral service will be 10:30 a.m., Friday, September 28, at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in New Ulm with Rev. Debra Bergstrand officiating. Burial with full military honors conducted by the New Ulm Area Comrades of Valor Honor Guard will follow at the New Ulm City Cemetery, Soldiers Rest section.
Visitation will be 4-7 p.m. Thursday at Schmucker Funeral Service in New Ulm and one hour prior to the service at the church.
Ernest Thomas Sands, the son of Ervin and Matilda (Broderson) Sands, was born March 11, 1912 in Anthon, IA where he spent his youth and attended school. Ernie enlisted in the U.S. Army on February 3, 1941 and entered service the same day at Fort Des Moines, IA. After basic training, he was trained as a cook and served at bases in the U.S. where he was a guard for German POWs. In November of 1944 as the push to conquer the Japanese escalated, Ernie departed the U.S.A. for the Pacific Theater and served as a rifle man fighting in the rice paddy battles of the Southern Philippine Islands as well as the big island of Luzon. He suffered from malaria and was evacuated on a stretcher to the island of Leyte in June of 1945. Ernie returned to the U.S. in September of 1945 and was honorably discharged a month later. For his service, he earned the Combat Infantryman's Badge, Asiatic-Pacific Theater Service Medal, Philippine Liberation Ribbon, and Good Conduct Medal. Ernie was instrumental in the development of the Brown County Veterans Council in 1987 and actively served until his move to the Sunwood Good Samaritan Center. Ernie was a member of American Legion Post 300 in Lafayette, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 15 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1648, both of New Ulm.
He was united in marriage to Ruth Koenecke on June 16, 1946 in Petersburg, MN. The couple made their home in rural Petersburg and several other rural communities before moving to New Ulm in 1967. Ernie was a member of Our Savior's Lutheran Church in New Ulm where he served as a Sunday School teacher, Secretary-Treasurer, and Sunday School superintendent. He also was a member of the church choir and served on the Church Council and Board of Deacons. Ernie enjoyed his membership in the Humdinger Band. He was an active volunteer and received the Sertoma Service to Mankind Award, the Brown County Senior Citizen of the Year Award, the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award from the Lafayette Lions Club, and the WCCO Good Neighbor Award.
Survivors include his wife Ruth Sands of Redwood Falls; children, Lyn Sands (Vince VanLimbeek) of Toronto, Canada, John Sands (Linda Schiffer) of Spring Lake Park, Frank Sands (Patti) of Dallas, TX, Barb Hennen of Redwood Falls, Tom Sands (Julie) of Eden Prairie; 19 grandchildren; 40 great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren; sister Edna Hansen of Battle Creek, IA; sister-in-law Helen Sands of Windom; nieces, nephews, cousins and other relatives.
He was preceded in death by his brothers Mike and Melvin Sands and sister Sophie Sands.