Ernest “Ernie” Walter Luke, 60

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Ernest “Ernie” Walter Luke, 60, passed away in his home in Columbia Falls on July 7, 2018 after a brief battle with cancer.

He was born Sept. 28, 1957, to Clifford and Roberta Luke (Wilhelm). He was the oldest of their four children, alongside Marilyn Cooper (Luke), Colleen Oden (Luke), and Ken Luke.

Ernie graduated from Polson High School in 1975 and attended the University of Montana. He was a radar technician in the Air Force and later came back home to work for Plum Creek in locations across Northwest Montana. An avid outdoorsman, he worked for the Forest Service and spent many summers away from home fighting forest fires across the state and country. Ernie was also hand-picked to join the cleanup of the Space Shuttle Columbia debris over Texas, a project he was very proud of.

He had one child, Nathan Luke, in 1988 with Barbara “Jo” Luke (Williams). They lived all over western Montana before settling in Columbia Falls for the last 20 years of his life.

He spent his free time hunting, fishing, camping and making log furniture in his shop. He also loved music, playing a variety of instruments including lead trumpet in high school, college, and beyond.

Ernie was preceded in death by his parents.

He is survived by his son, siblings, numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and countless other family and friends that cared deeply for him.

In lieu of flowers, he would have wanted you to enjoy life in Montana. Go camping, cut down a tree and plant another, make something with your hands. Make the world a better place and keep it beautiful.

Columbia Mortuary in Columbia Falls is caring for the family.

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