Ernest Hanson Friel, 83, of Marlinton, died Thursday, September 22, 2022, at Pocahontas Memorial Hospital in Buckeye, after a few years of declining health.
Born November 2, 1938, near Marlinton, he was the fourth son of the late Arthur Samuel and Hulda Irvine Sharp Friel.
Ernie was a proud veteran and farmer. He was a Christian, a member and Trustee of Fairview Church.
Ernie was a 1957 graduate of Marlinton High School. He attended New Mexico Highlands University where he played football and then attended Glenville State College.
He served in the United States Army C Co. of the 716th MP Battalion based at Fort Dix, New Jersey. During his service, he was sent for riot control at the University of Mississippi in Oxford.
A Past Master of Marlinton Lodge No. 127, A.F. & A.M., he was a member for 63 years and coached countless candidates. At the time of his death, he was the longest tenured member in the state of West Virginia. He was a past Worthy Patron of the Order of Eastern Star, Marlinton Chapter #97, where he was awarded a 50-year pin and Worthy Honors.
Ernie worked in the coal mines, for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was a firefighter for the Alexandria Fire Department, before moving back to Marlinton to work the family farm. He was an employee of the Pocahontas County Board of Education and Daniels Construction Company at the Bath County Pumped Storage project before retiring from the Pocahontas County Landfill.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by brothers, Eugene Arthur Friel, Elmer Charles Friel and Everett Wayne Friel; a grandson, Alex Friel Drake; and a niece, Sandra Kay Gibson Ackerman.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Gatha Lena Gibson Friel; daughters, Kimberly Lynn Friel Drake, and husband, Rory, of Matthews, North Carolina, and Donna Erna Simmons, and husband, Bob, of Quinton, Virginia; grandson, Ian Everett Drake, of Marlinton; and granddaughters, Kylie Gatha Drake, of Matthews, Ginna Renee Simmons and Ashley Lynn Simmons, of Quinton, Virginia; sisters, Eleanor “Betsy” Mears, of Leicester, North Carolina, and Evilene Beverage, of Marlinton; and 19 nieces and nephews.
Funeral Service was held Monday, September 26, 2022, at Lantz Funeral Home in Buckeye.
Burial was in Fairview Cemetery with Military Honors and Masonic Rites.
The family kindly requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Marlinton Lodge No. 127, A.F. & A.M. c/o Gary Taylor, 3300 Brownsburg Rd, Marlinton, WV 24954 or for the upkeep of Fairview Cemetery, c/o Barbara Campbell, PO Box 11, Marlinton, WV 24954.
Online condolence may be shared at Lantzfuneralhome.com