Ernest E. Thooft, age 88, of Tyler, Minnesota died peacefully on Thursday, June 3, 2021, at the Avera Sunrise Manor in Tyler. A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, at 10:00 AM at St. Dionysius Catholic Church in Tyler. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service. Inurnment will follow at St. Dionysius Catholic Cemetery in Tyler. Arrangements have been entrusted to Hartquist Funeral Home – Tyler Chapel.

Ernest Ermin Thooft was born to Camiel and Flosie (DeBree) Thooft on July 26, 1932 on a farm in Lyon County, Minnesota where he was raised and attended country school. In 1946, he moved with his parents to a farm northeast of Tyler, Minnesota. On January 20, 1953, he entered the United States Army and served during the Korean Conflict. While in the service, he received the Combat Infantry Badge, the Korean Service Ribbon, Bronze Star, the United Nations Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal. After his honorable discharge from the service in October of 1954, he returned to the family farm. On September 17, 1955, he was united in marriage to Victoria DeBaere at St. Eloi Catholic Church in Ghent, Minnesota. Following their marriage, they lived on the family farm in Tyler. Ernie continued to farm there until his retirement on May 17, 1986. After his retirement, he lived on the farm until 1995, when he moved into Tyler. While living there, he worked part time for Tyler Oil. In July of 2017, Ernie became a resident of the Sunrise Manor in Tyler where he died peacefully on Thursday, June 3, 2021 at the age of 88 years, 10 months, and 8 days.

Ernie was a member of St. Dionysius Catholic Church in Tyler. He was also a member of the VFW where he had served as the commander. He also served on the Russell School Board. He enjoyed playing rolle bolle, and he was invited to play in the international rolle bolle games in Belgium. He especially enjoyed his life work of farming, playing cards, and spending time with his children.

He is lovingly remembered by four sons, Randall (Laureen) of Balaton, Minnesota, Robert (Melanie) of Tyler, Minnesota, Ronald (Pam) of Russell, Minnesota, and Butch (Kayleen) of Brookings, South Dakota; three daughters, Rita (Charles) Klukas of Russell, Minnesota, Rose (Todd) Draper of Marshall, Minnesota, and Rhonda (Criss) Newton of Brookings, South Dakota; 23 grandchildren; and 41 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his grandson, Rustin Thooft; granddaughter, Jodi Pries; great-grandson, Theo Paluch; two brothers, Leon and Andrew; and sister, Julia Labat.