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James Ernsberger


James Edward “Jim” Ernsberger, 73, of Savannah, GA, died June 23, 2012 of pancreatic cancer. His wife Kelli was at his bedside. 

    He was born August 13, 1938 in Sturgis, MI, just north of his hometown of LaGrange, IN. He is predeceased by his parents, Wade and Helen Keasey Ernsberger, also of LaGrange.

    Jim received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Indiana University in 1960 and remained a passionate fan of Hoosier basketball throughout his life. He was a member of Delta Upsilon Fraternity and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

    Jim moved to Savannah in 1993 to be with Kelli, who he married the following year. He worked at Memorial Medical Center Hospital shortly after his arrival in Savannah and retired from Gulfstream Aerospace in 2003.

    Before being “imported” to the east coast, Jim spent many years in San Diego, CA, where he worked primarily in aerospace manufacturing while raising and remaining close to his three children, De Ann, Danette, and Jason, and eventually his grandchildren.  Jim pursued a variety of creative/entertainment interests in San Diego and in Los Angeles, where he produced a radio talk show and wrote for a popular television show. His love for songwriting and screenwriting continued throughout his life and he completed numerous projects, collaborating with his wife and others.   

    He is survived by his wife Kelli Stewart of Savannah, GA; three children, son Jason Ernsberger and his wife Erika of Albany, CA, daughter De Ann De Chellis Smallwood and her husband Tommy of Lemon Grove, CA,  and daughter Danette De Chellis Terhaar of Saulk Centre MN; six grandchildren, Contessa Martinez, Cassandra Terhaar, Natasha Huitt, Nicole Poepke ,Trevor Smallwood, and Lucas Ernsberger;  two great grandchildren, Tanner and Trinity; a niece and nephew; many cousins; and three favorite sisters-in-law, Karyl Stewart, Kathy Stewart, and Kerry Barretta.  

    A memorial service will be held at 4pm on Saturday June, 30, 2012 at Fairhaven Funeral Home, Hubert C. Baker Chapel, 7415 Hodgson Memorial Drive, Savannah, GA 31406.

    Donations may be made in Jim’s memory to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network at

WC 352                 Paid obituary