Ernest "Ernie" C. Ruiz
1918 - 2012, Santa Barbara
One of the greatest men of his generation has passed on July 7th, 2012. A 7th generation Santa Barbara native born September 15th, 1918, he was raised at the family property on the 300 block of E. Carillo St. with 8 siblings.
Ernie attended local schools graduating from SB High and SB State (predecessor to UCSB). A lifetime Member of the SBHS and UCSB Alumni Assns., Ernie joined the Army Air Corps after college, was commissioned an Officer and B-17 pilot and stationed at Hickam Field, Pearl Harbor. He was a Pearl Harbor Survivor, living through that day of infamy, December 7, 1941. Ernie went on to fly over 50 combat missions as a B-17 pilot in the South Pacific. Ernie was one of the most highly decorated B-17 pilots of WWII, awarded the Silver Star, the Air Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart, and several campaign medals for his valor, bravery in combat and stellar service to our country. He was discharged honorably as a Colonel.
Ernie was the longest serving Member of the local Boy Scouts, an Eagle Scout, longtime Scoutmaster, Cubscout Master, mentor to many Santa Barbara men, awarded the Silver Beaver by the national Boy Scouts for outstanding service. Recently Scouting has experienced some negatives but Ernie was none of that, he only cared about mentoring and entertaining our local youth. A longtime Member of the Kiwanis Club and master Fiesta Pancake Breakfast chef; longtime Member of the Elks and the Elks Drum & Bugle Corps, he entertained us for years in local parades.
Ernie was a very successful building contractor partnering with his father upon his return from the War as Ruiz & Son. During the building boom in Goleta of the 60's he employed over 100 men and built many of the tract homes in mid-Goleta. After the Goleta Water Moratorium of 1972, he specialized in high quality construction in the Santa Barbara and Montecito communities.
Ernie is survived by his high school sweetheart and fellow Santa Barbara native Clara, his devoted wife for 69 great years, his son Russell R. Ruiz (wife Amanda) and the light of his life his Granddaughter Stella Ruiz.
Service is at Our Lady of Sorrows in Downtown Santa Barbara, July 20th, 10 a.m. Get together to celebrate Ernie's life at the Vet's Building on Cabrillo Blvd. immediately following.
My Dad was the greatest man I ever met and I loved him dearly, as he loved me and our family.