Ernest (Ernie) Karkula
passed away peacefully Tuesday, December 7
at the age of 97.
Ernie was born on May 2
, 1924 in Mercedes Texas during the challenging time of our nation’s Great Depression. He was lucky enough to be part of a large family and had 9 siblings. His family relocated from Texas to Arizona when he was very young, and he spent nearly all his 97 years here in Arizona. His early years were spent in the Ocotillo area where he grew up working hard in the cotton fields every day. He only made it through the 3
grade before dropping out of school to work and help support his family. At the age of 17, he joined the Marines to fight in WWII. He served our nation proudly and was involved in many of the critical battles in the southern pacific including Guam, Guadalcanal, and Okinawa. After he returned home to Arizona Ernie tried his hand at many professions in the Chandler area including Police Officer, building apartments for a government housing project, and running a used furniture store on Boston Street. It was during this time he married his longtime love Lylda Mae Karkula (Lang) known to all as Sox and raised 5 children. Ernie loved to work with his hands and his true passion was farming. He spent the majority of his career farming all over Arizona including Yuma, Chandler, Queen Creek, and Casa Grande. Later in life, he also became a cattle rancher with a small ranch near Aravaipa, Az.
Ernie was heavily influenced by the depression and never met a tool, a piece of wood, or a metal part that he would not save and find a use for later. He knew what it meant to work hard and could outwork men half his age even as he got on in years. He could never sit still and always was looking for some new project to take on. He loved to dance and in his younger years could always be found on the dance floor with Lylda on a Saturday night. He was most comfortable being outside in nature and was an avid hunter with trophies from nearly every type of animal in North America.
Ernie was preceded in death by his parents, 9 siblings, his longtime wife, Lylda Mae, and 2 daughters, Patricia (Bill) and Janet (William Kleinman). He is survived by his son Nick (Vickie) and daughters Terry (Jerry Cooley) and Peggy Karkula and 13 Grandchildren and countless great-grandchildren.
There will be a viewing on Saturday, January 8
at 9 am and the funeral services will begin at 10 am both to be held at Bueler’s in Chandler. Directly following the funeral service, we will travel to Valley of the Sun Cemetery to lay Ernie to rest next to Lylda.