Nov. 12, 1931 — Nov. 20, 2018
Ernie Aiken was born in Washington state, and raised in his younger years in Raymond, Washington.
He graduated from Raymond High School in 1949, then spent a short time in college before pursuing his minor league baseball professional career in the early 1950s. He married his hometown sweetheart, Nancy, in 1953.
Ernie was a logger for a few years after his professional baseball career ended. He and Nancy moved to Astoria a few years later, where he joined others in the Aiken family working at the Astoria Plywood Mill. They soon established a family as son, Ken, and daughters, Anita and Irene, completed the family group. A cherished family combination spells their family name: A for Anita, I for Irene , K for Kenny, E for Ernie and N for Nancy. Ernie worked at the plywood mill for close to three decades until its closure in the late 1980s.
He loved to garden, and he raised his own vegetables and often, in season, would have a pot boiling ready to throw in the freshly shucked corn. He enjoyed cooking and baking from scratch, taking pride in his favorite dish, apple kuchen, a delicious German recipe passed down from his grandmother.
Though food was a delight in his life, baseball was his true calling and passion! Through the years, as his son and daughters grew, he coached son Ken in Little League and Babe Ruth teams, also giving advice and coaching to Anita and Irene, who played softball.
He continued for several years in Astoria baseball as groundskeeper, concessions and field adviser at Tapiola Park, which later was named Ernie Aiken Field in his honor. Though retired from his lumber career, Ernie never truly retired from his baseball career, and lived out his golden years cheering on the purple and gold of Astoria High School.
His wife, Nancy, went home to be with the Lord in March 2015. A loving and devoted wife, mother and grandmother, her humble and quiet devotion to the Lord was an inspiration to her family, as well as others, at First Baptist Church.
Ernie endured several years with a failing heart and other complications, which recently resulted in many weeks away from home under hospital and respite care, finally resulting in his passing on Nov. 20. God granted his final wish to live his last days at his home in Astoria.