Gloria F. Ernst, former Hutzler's associate and longtime volunteer, dies

Gloria F. Ernst, former Hutzler's associate and longtime volunteer, dies
As a young woman, Gloria F. Ernst had worked at the old Hutzler's department store in Baltimore. She later served for some 30 years with Meals on Wheels. (Handout)

Gloria F. Ernst, a Hamilton homemaker who had been a sales associate at the old Hutzler’s department store, died in her sleep Sept. 25 at Forest Hill Rehabilitation Center in Forest Hill. She was 95.

The former Gloria Felicia Bates was the daughter of Joseph and Mary Bates. She was born in Baltimore and raised on Monroe Street.


She was a 1941 graduate of Seton High School. She met Joseph Michael Ernst through the Crusaders, a Roman Catholic social group. They married in 1944.

Mrs. Ernst worked at Hutzler’s in downtown Baltimore during the 1940s. In 1956, she and her husband moved to Morello Road in Hamilton, where they raised their eight children.

For decades, she was a communicant of St. Dominic Catholic Church in Hamilton, and her children attended its parochial school.

“At least one Ernst kid was in St. Dominic’s school from 1956 through 1978,” said a son, Charles F. Ernst of Linthicum.

In autumn 1957 her daughter, Kathleen Ernst, 7, was killed while walking to school when a truck ran a red light. “This was a difficult time for [her] and the whole family, but her faith kept her going,” her son said.

In 1970, Mrs. Ernst began serving as a volunteer with Meals On Wheels of Central Maryland, delivering meals, preparing meals and scheduling drivers. She worked with the group for 30 years.

She remained in her home until 1992, when she moved to an apartment in Carney. She later relocated to a senior community in Parkville where she called bingo games and was a member of the activity committee. Two years ago, she moved to a son’s home in Jarrettsville and joined St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Pylesville.

Mrs. Ernst enjoyed drawing and siting outside in the yard, taking in nature.

She collected angels that were given to her by Patty Sowinski, a nurse who lives in Bel Air. As a child, Ms. Sowinski had been walking to school with Kathleen Ernst the day of the fatal accident, and the gifts of angels were her way to remember Mrs. Ernst, her son said.

Her husband, a bookkeeper, died in 1984.

Mrs. Ernst donated her body to the Maryland Anatomy Board. A memorial Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. Nov. 10 at St. Dominic’s, 5310 Harford Road.

In addition to her son, Mrs. Ernst is survived by three other sons, Thomas Ernst of Jarrettsville, William Ernst of Owatonna, Minn., and Joseph M. Ernst Jr. of Florida; three daughters, Felicia Ernst of Glen Rock, Pa., Regina Toolan of Florida and Mary Swanson of Delaware; a sister, Harriet Moscotti of Dulaney Valley; four grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

— Frederick N. Rasmussen