Ernie was born on October 22, 1922, in the family homestead in Woburn. Ernie was the cherished son of the late Alexander and Mary Balestrieri; he was raised in a large, loving, and close-knit family and remained a life-long resident of Woburn. Ernie was educated in Woburn and a graduate of Woburn High School.
Following graduation, Ernie joined the National Guard Company G in Woburn for a few years before enlisting in the U. S. Coast Guard on February 17, 1942. Ernie was very proud to serve alongside his fellow Veterans as a Coxswain aboard the USS Marchand, a submarine destroyer. Ernie was honorably discharged on October 31, 1945 and returned home to his family.
Ernie married the “love of his life” Doris Walsh on July 15, 1945; the couple shared more than 72 years of marriage and made countless memories to be talked about for generations to come. Ernie and Doris settled in the “family compound” in North Woburn where Ernie built their “dream home” and where they raised two wonderful daughters Sandy and Debbie and their “son” Tom Concannon. Ernie loved being a dad; there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for his family. Ernie especially enjoyed family holidays, parties, or any reason to get the family together; he loved to see the kids have a good time and he treated his nieces and nephews as his own. When Ernie became “Gramps” to Paul, Donald, and Sharona he was so proud; they were the light of his life.
Ernie was an extremely hard worker and had endless talents as a Master Carpenter. Ernie was instrumental in building most of the homes in his neighborhood as well as several family homes. He was involved in building the first Cummings Park building and worked for many contractors throughout the years. Ernie also worked at Spence Farms in Woburn for many years. Ernie’s talents were endless; his customer relations were superb and he was always sought after for his building expertise.
Ernie was known to be an AVID dancer; after his long work weeks his Friday nights were dedicated to dancing with his beloved Doris. Ernie and Doris would head out with family and friends to the St. Anthony Club or another dance club to relax and have a good time.
Ernie was very active in the St. Antony Club as well as his community; he always gave of his time and talents to help others in need.
Ernie was a man of great faith and an active communicant of St. Anthony Parish in Woburn his entire life. Ernie’s belief in God and his faith sustained him throughout his life especially in challenging times.
Ernie will be fondly remembered for his love of Family, friends, and Country; he was proud to be an American. Ernie was kind, caring, and helpful; he had a great sense of humor and a big personality. Ernie made everyone feel welcomed and he went out of his ways to help anyone in need; never expecting anything in return.
Ernie’s unconditional love and devotion to his family and friends was evident in everything he did. He was truly a “one of a kind gentleman” and will forever be loved and missed.
Ernie was the beloved husband of Doris A. (Walsh) Balestrieri, devoted father of Sandy A. (Balestrieri) LaFontaine & her husband Eugene “Tiny” LaFontaine of Woburn, the late Deborah A. (Balestrieri) Sylvester and adopted son Tom Concannon of Florida. Loving “Gramps” of Paul LaFontaine, Donald LaFontaine, and Sharona Sylvester, cherished son of the late Alexander and Mary (Lutrario) Balestrieri, dear brother of Richard Balestrieri & wife Barbara of Wilmington, Albert Balestrieri & his late wife Marie and Eva Flynn all of Woburn, the late Joseph Balestrieri & wife Louise, Louis Balestrieri& wife Kella, Eleanor Britt & husband Howard, Anna Balestrieri, Salvatore Balestrieri & wife Lil and George Balestrieri & wife Monty. Ernie is also survived by many nieces and nephews.
Family and friends will gather for a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Anthony Parish, 851 Main St., Woburn, MA, on Saturday, October 1st at 10:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers donations in Ernest’s memory may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place Memphis, TN 38105.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Nichols Funeral Home, Wilmington.