Ernest William Schreiner III, OD, of Sun City, Ariz., died Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2005, at Royal Oak Care Center in Sun City at the age of 83.
He was born Jan. 18, 1922, in McAlester, Okla., to Ernest and Mary Schreiner. His family soon moved to St. Johns, Mich., where he completed grade school and high school. Following graduation, he attended Western Michigan College at Kalamazoo on a football scholarship.
Ernie enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in October 1942, and served as staff sergeant and electronics specialist until May 1946. While stationed in Santa Barbara, Calif., he met Velma Barger. They were married on May 14, 1944, in Santa Barbara. To this union six children were born.
In 1949, Ernie enrolled in Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tenn. Upon receiving his doctor of optometry degree, he moved with his family to his wife's hometown of Benkelman, where he practiced optometry for 34 years. He was very proud of his profession, of his friendships with his patients and of the many local men who chose optometry as a career.
He served as mayor of Benkelman and always considered Benkelman to be his "hometown."
As a young boy through adulthood, his Catholic faith remained an important part of his life.
Ernie had a great sense of humor and enjoyed joking around with his patients, friends and family. He was an avid pheasant hunter and fisherman. He also enjoyed woodworking, golfing and playing bridge and cribbage.
After retirement, he and his wife moved to Sun City, Ariz.
He is survived by his loving wife of more than 60 years, Velma Schreiner of Sun City; daughter, Rita Ham and husband, Gary of Parks; son, Dr. Gary Schreiner and wife, Cherry of Ogallala; son, Dr. Darrel Schreiner and wife, Evelyn of Ponca City, Okla.; daughter, Eloise Nelson and husband, Doug of Boulder, Colo.; son, Dr. Kevin Schreiner and wife, Lee of Gillette, Wyo.; daughter, Colleen Schreiner of Boulder; sister, Clara Porter of Vancouver, Wash.; brother-in-law, Tex Smith of Santa Barbara, Calif.; 14 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
Funeral services were Feb. 18, 2005, at St. Elizabeth Seaton Catholic Church in Sun City, Ariz. Burial was at the National Military Cemetery in Phoenix, Ariz.