Ernestine J. (Demel) Koenig died on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, in La Grange the age of 92.
Ernestine was born in 1928 to Frank and Alvina Demel in Schulenburg. She was the youngest of seven children that included four sisters, Elizabeth, Martha, Ella and Della, and two brothers, Reinhart and Edwin. She grew up in the farm community of High Hill on the outskirts of Schulenburg, later moving to the city itself. She was first schooled by the nuns of St. Mary parish and subsequently attended the Schulenburg public schools. She met and later married Robert (Bob) F. Koenig in 1951 and settled in the nearby community of Weimar. Ernie (as she preferred going by) and Bob had four sons, Robert, Christopher, Craig and Bruce. They were lifetime members of St. Michael Catholic Church and ensured all four children received a Catholic education at St. Michael’s School.
You can hardly speak of Ernie without including Bob; they defined “two peas in a pod,” a “cup and saucer” and sometimes, “the skillet calling the kettle black.” They were pretty much inseparable throughout their lives. They loved to dance and socialize with friends, play cards and dominoes, visit the casinos, travel, garden and can the vegetables they produced. Ernie and Bob were hard workers and instilled a strong work ethic in their children; a trait that served them well later in life.
Ernie was a “talker,” she could start and carry on a conversation with anyone she met. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the like didn’t exist when her family was young and lived at home, but social media thrived in the form of a land line telephone that rang countless times throughout the day with calls from Ernie’s many friends (Gladys, Joyce, Anne, Aileen, Dorothy, Patty, June and others) to chat and visit. She enjoyed many afternoons in the homes of her friends, as well as her own, playing bridge or canasta. She and Bob always looked forward to the Sunday afternoon gatherings at the Kram’s camp house for games of 42. Some years ago, Ernie and several of her close friends traveled to Europe, visiting numerous countries to include ancestral locations in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. She and Bob enjoyed cruises and travels elsewhere with especially memorable ones to the Hawaiian Islands and Alaska.
Bob was the gardener and Ernie the cook (although, he was no slouch in the kitchen; his chicken fried steak is still the best). He raised a prolific garden every spring and fall as far back as his family can remember and Ernie canned the best dill pickles and pepper okra you could find (she said her secret was “fresh dill, lots of it”). Aside from her expertise at canning, she was an accomplished baker; her cakes, cookies, candies and meringue pies were over-the-top. And, her holiday dressing was the absolute best there ever was. Ernie was a longtime member of the Weimar Garden Club and talented in floral arrangement, especially when using dry materials. She loved to decorate both inside and out during the holidays, often winning the “front door decoration” award at Christmas.
When Bob retired after a long career with the Shell Oil Company, he and Ernie acquired a small farm where they raised Longhorn cattle for several years. Bob died in 2016 at the age of 93. At the time of his passing, Ernie and Bob had been married 65 years.
Ernie is survived by her sons, Robert and wife Mary, Chris and wife Sherry, Craig and wife Medora, and Bruce. Ernie leaves behind seven grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews, and special friends Leona Hoelscher and family, Henrietta Cernosek, Rita Dworaczyk and Tommy Koenig.
Funeral services were held on Friday Oct. 30 at St. Michael Catholic Church, with Fr. Wayne Flagg offciating. Pallbearers were Craig Koenig Jr., Collin Koenig, Chris Koenig Jr., Sam Koenig, Keith Koenig and Tommy Koenig.