Belfast, NY – Ernest E. “Whiskers” Truax, 91, of Sherman Street, passed away peacefully on Friday, November 17, 2023, in his home with his family by his side. He was born at home on October 26, 1932, in Ulyssess, PA, the son of the late James C. and Margaret E. (Stanley) Truax. On June 5, 1957, during Wellsville’s Centennial celebration he married the love of his life (whom he met in September of 1955), Mary E. Keller, who predeceased him on April 8, 2010.
Ernie was raised on Beach Hill in Wellsville and attended school in the Town of Ward through the 6 th grade. He was pivotal on his family’s farm and would continue farm work throughout much of his adult life, having a dedicated work ethic to always provide for his family. In March of 1956 he enlisted with the United States Navy, serving until his honorable discharge in November of that year. After his time in the armed forces, he became a self-taught welder and was hired by Bulk Tainers of Belmont, for whom he worked for over thirty years before retiring in his early seventies; during his time with Bulk Tainers, he was also employed to work on the owner’s horse farm, while simultaneously maintaining his own farm. Outside of his employment, Ernie had a robust, yet simple life, he was an avid fisherman and hunter, was often mistaken as Gabby Hayes, loved to Square Dance every Saturday night at Four Lakes, was a ‘roadie’ for Big Dan the Music Man every Saturday as well. He had an ear for music, enjoyed yodeling, clogging, and learned to play both the Banjo and Accordion by ear, with Red River Valley as his favorite song to play. He was an avid collector, especially of coins, with more buckwheat pennies than anyone would know what to do with. He was active in his community, participating with his children in almost every parade held in Belfast, dressed as a ‘hill billy’ with his tractor; he would help anyone who asked, and would give the shirt off his own back to anyone in need, he never met a stranger he wouldn’t be willing to help. Most of all he loved his family, every Sunday he would prepare a breakfast that bordered being a banquet.
He is survived by: four children, Mike Cockle of Arizona, Norm F. (Dawn) Truax of Silversprings, NY, Clayton A. (Colleen) Truax of Alfred, and Tammy L. (Jim) Witt of Statesville, NC; twelve grandchildren, Jennifer (Chris) Schole, Michael Truax, Bill Truax, Lois Truax, Stacy (Rick) Longdue, Norm Truax Jr., Charise Truax, Thomas (Morgan) Truax, Randy Truax, Clayton Witt, Jon Witt, and Marcus Witt; siblings, Fran (Art) Storey, Milford Truax, Duane (Shirley) Truax, and Winston (Barb) Truax; siblings-in-law, Ros Truax, Dorothy Truax, Katie Truax, and Bob Caldwell; as well as several great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. In addition to his parents, and wife of 52 years, he was predeceased by: a son, Herman E. Truax in 2016; siblings, James “Jim” Truax, Theron Truax, Buster “Ralph” Truax, and Lorraine Caldwell; and sister-in-law, Pamela Truax.
Following Ernie’s wishes, friends will be invited to a memorial service being planned for a later date. Burial will be in Bath National Cemetery with full military honors.
Please consider memorial donations to the Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 758516 Topeka, KS 66675-8516.
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