Ernie “Big E” Kraft, 62, of Niagara Falls, NY died in his home on Monday July 30, 2012, after a long illness. Born in Buffalo, NY, he was the son of the late George V. and Bernice M. “Lovey” (Printup) Kraft.
Ernie was a lifelong resident of the Tuscarora Indian Reservation and Niagara Falls, NY. He attended local schools and graduated from Niagara Wheatfield High School. Shortly after his graduation, he served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War from June 18, 1969 until his honorable discharge on June 18, 1971. Ernie was highly decorated for his service to his Country and awarded a, Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, a Vietnam Service Medal with two Bronze Stars and a Vietnam Campaign Medal. Ernie was employed at Great Lakes Carbon for thirty four years and following that he worked at the Seneca Niagara Casino for five years prior to retiring in 2006. “Big E”, as he was also known, was an avid hunter and enjoyed bowling and playing pool daily, until being forced to forfeit these activities to his illness. His numerous collections, to support these activities, were his passion, none of which, were greater than his love of automobiles and motorcycles, which he continued to pursue and enjoy until just before he passed away.
Ernie is survived by his loving wife Cheryl (VanVolkinburg) Kraft, one daughter Pamela (Jake King) Meness of Maniwaki, Quebec, three sons; Jason Kraft, Ernest Kraft Jr. both of Niagara Falls, NY and Hilliard (Melonie) Meness of Maniwaki, Quebec; three grandchildren, Asha and Phoenix Meness King and Roman Meness; two brothers, Ron (Linda) Kraft of Pendleton, NY; Gary ‘Herbie’ (Cynthia) Kraft of Greenville, SC, two sisters Mary Lynn Kraft of Ottawa, Ontario, Freda (Carl) Morris of Ohio and numerous nieces and nephews. He was also predeceased by five brothers, George ‘Georgie’ V. Kraft, Arnold Kraft, Walter Kraft, Keith Craft (Cindy of Lewiston, NY) and Maurice (Carol of Niagara Falls, NY) Kraft. Candice, Charlene, Amsey and Cindy VanVolkinburg held a special place in Ernie’s heart. Also, his three puppies Apollo, Venus and Titan brought him much joy and companionship.
Visitation will be on Friday from 2 – 4 and 6 – 8 p.m. at the M.J. COLUCCI & SON NIAGARA FUNERAL CHAPEL, 2730 MILITARY ROAD, NIAGARA FALLS, NY. Family and friends are invited to attend a funeral service on Saturday August 4th at 11 a.m. at the Tuscarora Indian Mission, Walmore Road, Lewiston, NY with Rev. Donald Robinson officiating. EVERYONE PLEASE ASSEMBLE AT CHURCH. Interment with Military Honors in Mt. Hope Cemetery, Lewiston, NY. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to the National Kidney Foundation, 300 Delaware Avenue, Ste. 101, Buffalo NY 14202.