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Reverend Dr. Milton S. Ernstmeyer, 96, a native of Nebraska, died February 5, 2016. A graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, he was ordained at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, St. Louis, before being commissioned as a U.S. Navy Chaplain for active duty in 1943. With graduate degrees from Nebraska and Harvard universities, he later received a Doctor of Divinity Degree from Concordia Seminary.
During World War II, he was assigned to the attack transport USS Grimes (APA172) in WESTPAC, where the ship participated in the Iwo Jima Campaign and the occupation of Japan. While assigned to several Marine Corps units and bases, he was also the division chaplain of the Third Marine Division overseas in Okinawa.
Other shipboard assignments were on the USS Philippine Sea (CV-47), Staff Chaplain of the Landing Ship Flotilla Two, the USS Princeton (CVS-7), as well as with the Flagships of the Sixth Fleet, the USS Des Moines (CA-137), and the USS Springfield(CGL-7). Stateside assignments included those of Staff Chaplain for the Chief of Naval Air Training, the District Chaplain for the Fifth Naval District, the Thirteenth Naval District, and the Naval District, Washington, D.C.
Throughout his military career and after, he was supported by his loving wife, Muriel Helen Ernstmeyer, who joined in his ministry to the military members and their families.
In 1972, he requested U.S. Navy retirement to accept the call as executive secretary, Armed Forces Commission, LCMS, and the next year also became LCMS Staff Member of the Division of Services to Military Personnel, LCUSA.
In 1978, he was elected president of the Military Chaplains Association of the USA. In 1983, he retired as executive secretary, Ministry to the Armed Forces, Board of Missions, LCMS, and at the following Synodical Convention, was presented the Silver St. Martin of Tours Medal.
He prepared devotional material for Portals of Prayer, as well as articles and books, such as the Concordia Publishing House publication of They Shall Not March Alone, a compilation of experiences and vignettes of our LCMS military chaplains from the times of the Civil War until the 1980s.
Since his retirement, “Chaplain Ernie” and his late wife, Muriel, had resided in Myrtle Beach, North Carolina, where they were members of the Lutheran Church of the Risen Christ, and in Williamsburg, where they were members of King of Glory Lutheran Church.
They are survived by their three married daughters, six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.
Services will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, February 13, at the King of Glory Lutheran Church, 4897 Longhill Road, Williamsburg. Burial will be at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery.
Please leave online condolences for the family at Nelsen Funeral Home.
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