Ernest “Ernie” Briggs, 98, longtime Shields Valley and Clyde Park resident passed away peacefully on Thursday, March 22nd, 2018. A funeral service will be held, 11:00 A.M. on Thursday, March 29th, hosted at Holbrook United Methodist Church, 424 W Lewis St, Livingston, with Pastor Mark Danielson of the Wilsall Community Church as celebrant. Viewing will be available one hour prior to the service at the church. Graveside committal and burial will follow at the Clyde Park Cemetery. Veteran’s honors will be provided by Park Post #23 American Legion and the Sergeant Tommy Ray V.F.W. Post # 2154. A Luncheon and celebration of life will then take place following, at the Shields Valley Community Center.
Ernest Briggs was born on August 5, 1919 in Britten, North Dakota, 20 miles south of Bismark, ND
Ernie was the 10th child of George and Stella Briggs. As a baby he moved with his parents and family to the town of Pollock, South Dakota where he was raised on a farm on the Missouri River. At a small country school, he received his education through the 8th grade. His folks, along with many neighbors, lost their farms during the great depression of the 1930s. Ernie and his family came to the Shields Valley in the spring of 1936.
As a teenager Ernie worked on neighboring ranches in the Clyde Park, Wilsall area. Then he worked for his grandparents from 1936-1939 out on their ranch on Tompson Gulch in the Big Belt mountains 17 miles west of White Sulphur Springs.
Ernie was the first young man from Park County to volunteer for service in World War II. He was placed in the Medics, taking his basic training in Fort Ord, California. He was then sent to Letterman General Hospital in San Francisco for surgical technician training. He worked in the hospital as a nurse for half days and going to school the other half, receiving his diploma as a Surgical Technician.
Back in Fort Ord he received the 5/Sgt rating and he helped several caches of men before going into battle in the Pacific. He was involved in the Battle of Attu of the Alutian Island, Kwajalien of the Marshall Islands, Leyte in the Philippines and the last battle of World War II, Okinawa.
On the 16th of August 1947 he married Ellen Holliday and made their home on the ranch on Elk Mountain for ½ century, on that ranch they raised son Rod and daughter Renee. They loved and took care of the ranch and livestock and the ranch took care of them. Ernie was a member of the Shields Valley United Methodist Church, past president of the Park County Pioneer Society and a member of the American Legion and Farm Bureau.
Ernie loved his family, friends and neighbors so very much and was always concerned for them. He loved music and his guitar playing and singing will be remembered by many. He was asked and honored to have conducted several funeral services for close friends and family and neighbors.
Ernie and Ellen sold their beloved ranch in 1997, retired and moved into the new house they built in Clyde Park.
Ernie loved the Shields River Valley and the people who reside there and there wasn’t many who he didn’t know.
Ernie is survived by his children, son, Rodney Briggs of Clyde Park, his children: Tiffany (Chris) Lenocker, Russell Brigs, Katie Jo (Kurt) Swasey; daughter, Renee Eisenbeis and her husband Dave of Phoenix, AZ.
Ernie was preceded in death by his loving wife Ellen; his parents: George and Stella (Hubbard) Briggs brothers: Dayton, Douglas, Calvin, George and Charles Briggs; his sisters: Cecil Carpenter, Ester Casey, Gracie Briggs and Hazel Orr.
Ernie Briggs, the last of the All American Cowboys, he lived his dream and his life has impacted many people in the valley, he was loved and will be missed by all who knew him.
Arrangements are under the care of Franzen-Davis Funeral Home and Crematory.