Ernie was born on June 12, 1932 in New York Mills to Ernest Sr. and Ailil (Wick) Niskala. He was raised in New York Mills and graduated from New York Mills High School in 1950. Ernie enlisted in the Navy and was one of 61 survivors of the 1952 USS Hobson (DMS-26) sea tragedy; and from that experience, he lived every day as if it were a gift. Ernie attended many of the Hobson Memorial reunions in Charleston, S.C., and was proud of his service in the military. He spent most of his career in Chicago as a region director of sales for Budget Rent a Car Corporation. He often spoke highly of his coworkers and had many memories of his work in Chicago and San Francisco. In his retirement, he lived in Stillwater, Minn.; Bayfield, Wis.; and Fargo, N.D. Ernie's life was well lived. He recognized the importance and reward of hard work, found happiness in the simplicity of life, and embraced those around him with a gracious and thoughtful manner. He touched many lives along the way, and will be fondly remembered by his family and friends.
At his request, there will be no memorial service. Interment will be at the Topelius Cemetery, rural New York Mills.