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Around The Grange
Beacon Grange remembers Ernie Bunnell

By Ronald DeRosa, Register Citizen (5/2/10)

  MAY 3, 2010 --

A "gentle giant," a sincere man and a good friend.

These are just some of the words used to describe the late Litchfield Selectman Ernie Bunnell. Bunnell passed away this week suddenly at the age of 71.

"This is the loss of a great friend to me personally as well as the whole town," said Bob Johnson, Ernie's longtime friend. "He was a doer and not a receiver, his dedication in our area will be missed."

Ernie has been noted not only for his political involvement but also his involvement in the local fire company. A 52-year member of the Beacon Grange in Northfield, Ernie was also an active member of the Northfield Volunteer Fire Company since 1971, where he had served as chief from 1976 to 1994.

He also served in the offices of lieutenant, captain and was currently fire commissioner on the Litchfield Board of Fire and EMS Commissioners.

"Ernie was a kind, sincere man with great character and integrity who was not afraid to be that one lone voice in a room reminding everyone what was really important in life," said Kevin Creed, local Democratic official and attorney.

A Democrat, Ernie was bi-partisan, Creed noted.

"He always advocated what was best for the town, no matter which party advocated a position," he said.

Attorney William Conti, chairman of the town committee, said Ernie was a Democrat and served like a Democrat.

"But when he was on the board, politics were off," Conti said. "He spoke out for what he believed in and did what he thought was right."

Born in Waterbury in 1939, Berniewas employed by Mount Claire Water Company in Torrington and had retired from Nobby Beverage Company of Plainville. He was the former manager of Big Dollar Liquors and Globe Limousine of Bristol, and former service manager for Pepsi Cola of Bristol for many years.

Ernie was slated to attend the Democratic State Convention in May, after being elected as a delegate by the town committee, said Audrey Blondin, state central committeewoman.

"We loved having Ernie as a part of our state delegation, and I can't think of anyone who I would rather be with through the trials and tribulations of a long state convention than Ernie," she said.

She added, "It will never again be the same with out him.

A member and past president of the Litchfield County Chiefs Emergency Plan, Ernie was a founding member of the Litchfield County Dispatch Center. He was serving his 26th year as secretary on the LCD board of directors.

He had also been a member and past president of the Connecticut Parade Marshall's Association, a member and past president of the Connecticut State Firefighters Association, and a longtime member of the Connecticut State Fire Chief's Association.

"Ernie was a gentle giant," said Probate Judge Diane Blick. "He led by example, always staying true to his family, his community and his beliefs."



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