Dr. Ernest E. Rossi, 86, passed away peacefully August 7, 2015.
Ernie was born January 28, 1929 in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Ambridge High School in 1946. After graduation he entered the U.S. Air Force and served 3 years in Greenland as a Radio Operator, reaching the rank of Staff Sergeant.
Ernie was the first in his Italian immigrant family to attend college, using the GI Bill to obtain a B.A. degree cum laude from Duquesne University in 1953. He received a Ph. D. in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1964.
He worked as an Assistant Professor at West Virginia University in Morganton, WV and Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. After receiving his PhD, he moved with his family to Kalamazoo, Michigan. He worked for 30 years at Western Michigan University as a Professor of Political Science, Department Chair, and Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
He wrote several books including The Latin American Political Dictionary, European Political Dictionary, and Italian Americans: Bridges to Italy, Bonds to America. He continued to write in his retirement, focusing on his Italian heritage, including an article “Anyplace You Go is America”, a favorite quote of his father. He also served in leadership roles of the teachers’ union, the American Association of University Professors.
While working at Catholic University, he met Jean Enzler and learned that a way to her heart was through their shared love of books and through her 12 younger brothers and sisters. They were married September 7, 1963 and enjoyed nearly 52 wonderful years together. Ernie and Jean raised 2 children, Bob and Cathy, in Michigan. After retirement Ernie and Jean moved to Cary NC to be near their children and grandchildren.
Ernie is survived by wife Jean Rossi of Cary, NC; son and wife Bob and Beth Rossi of Durham, NC; daughter and husband Cathy and Mike Warner of Raleigh, NC; grandsons Andrew Rossi and Evan Rossi; brother and wife Frank and Rita Rossi of Pittsburgh, PA; numerous in-laws; dozens of nieces and nephews; and extended family.
Ernie is preceded in death by his parents Gaetano and Anna Rossi, brothers Anthony Rossi and Emidio Rossi, and sister Amalia Rossi.
Ernie was an avid gardener, sculpting his garden to have continual blooming flowers throughout spring and summer. He enjoyed photography, wood working, communicating with Morse code on his HAM radio, and writing short stories. He also dabbled in computer programs that broadcast “Ernie is Clever” to the amusement of his family.
As a political science professor he had a thorough knowledge of history and could single-handedly beat any contingent of in-laws in Trivial Pursuit. He taught love of family, the value of education, and the use of clever comebacks and one-liners to his children. He entertained many nieces and nephews who were up for the challenge of trying to guess his middle name, drawing Ernie of Sesame Street, and other spontaneous games. He initially looked upon any unexpected interests from his children with concern, but would soon proudly tell any friend or stranger about his son the radio DJ or his daughter performing with the Michigan Marching Band.
The family would like to thank the Veterans Administration, Nurse Care North Carolina, and caregiver Ashley Sherman for their care and support over the last year.
Friends will be received Tuesday, August 11, 2015 from 6pm – 8pm at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home on SE Maynard Rd in Cary, with a prayer service at 7:30pm. Funeral Mass will be Wednesday, August 12, 2015 at 11am at St. Michael The Archangel Catholic Church in Cary. Burial will follow at Wake Memorial Park, Green Hope School Rd, Cary.
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