Born: February 09, 1929
Died: September 02, 2012
On September 2, 2012, in Devine, Texas, at the age of 83, Ernest Paul Coker went home to be with the Lord. He was born February 9, 1929, in Honey Grove, Texas to Bruce Earl and Pearl (Futch) Coker, the 4th of 6 children. He is preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Bruce Earl and William Hosea; sister, Hazel Lorene and granddaughter, Sarah Ann Cross. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Helen Louise (Van Vorce) Coker; sisters Earlene House and Juanita Ford; two daughters, Paula Lynne Ortiz and Linda Sue (Frank) Taylor III; grandchildren Emily Louise (Michael) Reyes, Mathew Raymond Hart, Rebekah Lynn (Chris) Ramin, Melissa Anne (John) Madura, Frank Edward (Andrea) Taylor IV, Kenneth William (Brittney) Taylor; and 6 great grandchildren, Dylan, Brayden, Cole, Madeline, John Leo and Noah. His early years were spent on farms in Fannin County, Texas. He left home at age 16. At age 17 he enlisted and served his country in the US Navy. While in port in Long Beach, California, he met the woman of his dreams, Helen. They were married on January 7, 1949. In 1950 he joined Helen playing with 'The Gospel Stars' group on KFSG Radio, Los Angeles. In 1951 they started their own group ‘The Gospel Rythmaires’ also on KFSG as well as other radio programs, and toured Southern California playing gospel music. He later started a pop group 'The Jesters', playing only private venues around the Los Angeles and surrounding area, performing at such places as the Disneyland Hotel, the Queen Mary and for larger companies like Douglas Aircraft. They regularly played many military clubs at the nearby bases. Music was just one of his various hobbies. He enjoyed restoring old cars, deep sea fishing, was an avid reader, and still held a private pilots’ license. He loved to learn. He studied Spanish reading all his favorite novels in that language. He also studied French, and then re-read his favorite novels again in French. He was a very successful businessman in the aerospace industry, starting his own aerospace business. Before retiring, his last challenge was for Northrop Aircraft helping develop the B2 Stealth Bomber. He spent his retirement days on his ranch in Devine, Texas, returning to his roots of living in the country, enjoying his ranch. He took pride in raising his cattle, growing hay and all that goes along with running a ranch. Retirement gave him time to return to his love of music, and playing his steel guitar. He was a member of several steel guitar clubs. Over the last several years he was invited to play in many countries around the world. He enjoyed travelling and meeting people of all nations and cultures. He was particularly fond of France. The sound of his music will forever remain in our hearts, leaving us with lasting memories. Ernie’s last message: “I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith.” II Timothy 4:7. The family will hold a private memorial service. Visit www.tondre-guinn.com to sign an online guest book or to send a private condolence to the family. Arrangements with Tondre-Guinn Funeral Home, Castroville, TX.