Ernest L. “Ernie” Chapoose, age 69, of Ft. Duchesne, passed away April 14, 2020, at his home surrounded by his family.
He was born July 12, 1950, in Ft. Duchesne, to Connor and Ruth Nannetz Chapoose. Ernie served in the United States Army from 13 June 1969 to 28 February 1972. He did his Basic Training at Fort Ord, California after which he went to Fort Benning, Georgia where he completed Basic Airborne school. His first duty station was with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C. He was trained as a Radio Operator (RTO). On 23 June 1970 he was sent to Vietnam where he served with HHC 3rd Bn (ABN) 503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade. On 23 July 1971 he was transferred to HHB 2-3/9 Artillery, 101st Airborne Division, Air Mobile (Vietnam). 10 December 1971 he was sent to HHT 2/17 CAV, 101 Airborne Division (Air Mobile) (Vietnam). He returned to the USA on 25 February 1972. Ernest L. Chapoose obtained the rank of Specialist Four and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal w/1960 device, Parachutists Badge, and Overseas Service Bar.
He married Luanna Rhea “Loni” Wood on August 17, 1970, in Elberta, Utah.
Ernie worked for many years as a construction worker on high rise buildings and a code compliance inspector in Washington State. He enjoyed fishing in his boat out on the ocean and built his own poles and lures. He moved his family back to Utah so that they could get to know their other family. He really liked to hunt, fish, and pray in the mountains. He was an avid bowler and he traveled and competed all over the country, often with his brother, Robert. He gave everyone a nickname and enjoyed teasing people almost to the point of tears. He loved his family and often took time to visit and torment them. He was very generous, kind, and cared about everyone – he never held a grudge.
Ernie is survived by his wife of 49 years, Loni, of Ft. Duchesne; children, Eli (Ena) Chapoose, Cindy (Ron) Wopsock, Kelly (Amanda) Chapoose, Gerald Chapoose, all of Ft. Duchesne; Georgia (Brandon) Tanner; foster-children, Adam Gardner, Jerome Navanick, 10 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild; brother and sister, Robert Chapoose, Sr., Yellowstone Subdivision; Lorena (Ken) Ridingbird, Rocky-Boy, MT; foster-brothers and sisters, Roger (Loraine) Wood, Delia Wood, both of Washington; Frank (Margaret) Wood, Idaho; Joe (Chris) Wood, Donna Anderson, Valorie Randall, both of Salt Lake City; special nieces and nephews that he would bowl with: Betsy Chapoose, Joy Grant, Elaine Willie, Brock Chapoose, Jodie Gardner, and many other nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his foster-parents, Robert & Beverly Wood; brothers and sisters, Haskel Chapoose, Marietta Reed, Billy, Lynn Chapoose, Mary Sue UncaSam, Hannah Grant, Nancy Moya, Gerald Grant, Gertrude Willie, Gloria Chapoose, Ina Chapoose, Nataline Santio, Toby Chapoose.
Graveside services will be held on Saturday, April 18, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. at the Ouray-Tabbee Cemetery. They will have a meal and the final viewing at 11:00 a.m. at his home on Saturday morning. There will be a wake at his home on Friday after 4:00 p.m.
Military honors will be presented by the Ft. Duchesne VFW Post and the Patriot Guard Riders.