Ernest “Ernie” Joseph Zarra Jr., born in Newark, N.J., on August 27, 1931, to Ernest Joseph Sr. and Margaret Mary Zarra, passed away peacefully at home in New Bern on June 6, 2010, due to complications from a glioblastoma.
Ernest was a proud veteran of the U.S. Navy. While serving on the USS Robert H. McCard (DD882) and the USS Markab (AD21), he played baseball, served our nation in a variety of spe-cialty jobs, and later received his honorable discharge in 1955. Those who had the honor of know-ing “Ernie” know about his love for his fellow Navy-men, demonstrated by his active involvement in “Tin Can Sailors.”
While residing in Bloomfield, Ernest founded and developed the Bloomfield Recreation Girls’ and Women’s softball leagues, celebrating annual successes by the unforgettable summer picnics at Watsessing Park in Bloomfield. Ernie also ran for the Bloomfield City Council in 1972. He was a most ardent supporter for the elderly and the indigent. His heart for those with special needs was incomparable.
Ernest, and his wife, Faith, owned and operated “The Country Cupboard,” their beloved gro-cery/deli store in Florham Park, N.J. During those 13 years as a small-business owner, Ernie had a significant impact in the lives of many locals, including police, firefighters, and area residents – all of whom will never forget his wonderful sense of humor and quick wit, and his contagious, generous spirit. He served for a time as a local volunteer firefighter. He will be sorely missed by so very many people.
Upon retirement, Ernest and Faith relocated to New Bern, where Ernie enjoyed making new friends, playing golf, and working part time as a cook at the River Bend Country Club. Wherever Ernie settled, there were always friends to be made. All who were touched by Ernie’s zest for life, and deep affection for people, knew they were in the presence of a genuinely sacrificial and hon-orable person. His sense of humor about life and its difficulties put many at ease in his presence.
Besides his love for his family and friends, Ernest loved telling stories, inventing games and puzzles. Some of his games were copyrighted. When it came to cooking, few were Ernie’s equal. He consistently found new ways to please the palate. Ernie was an exceptional cook and created many meals in honor of his grandchildren, family, extended family and friends.