Ernest Gilstrap

Ernest Gaines Gilstrap

Thursday, July 7th, 1927 - Monday, September 9th, 2019
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Ernest Gaines Gilstrap, age 92, passed away peacefully in his Easley, SC home to be with our Heavenly Father on September 9, 2019. Born in Liberty, SC, Ernest was one of nine children born to William Henry and Elsie Aiken Gilstrap. His beloved wife of 62 years, Margaret Louise, passed away in 2009.
Ernest is survived by one sister, Emma Jean (Arnold) Beard of Easley; his three children, Constance Louise Truesdail (Richard), David Gaines Gilstrap (Sharon), and Charles Logan Gilstrap (Jane); five grandchildren, six great grandchildren, and two great great grandchildren.
After serving as a decorated U.S. Navy gunner in WW II, Ernest attended Brevard College from 1947-1949. Ernest and Louise made Brevard their home for over 70 years, where they were faithful members of the First United Methodist Church. Ernest worked with Olin Corporation for 34 years and retired in 1985. In 1968 he was appointed as one of the first district magistrates in North Carolina and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1992 at the age of 65.
For his committed services to Transylvania County, Governor James G. Martin presented Ernest with the State of North Carolina’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Because Ernest exemplified a public -spirited citizen, he was appointed to serve on the Transylvania County Board of Social Services from 1998 to 2001. In 2012, the Transylvania County Sheriff’s office recognized Ernest for his 40 years of service to the families and children of Transylvania County. He spent every Christmas Eve as the voice of Santa, calling county children to ask what their Christmas wishes were...including his jingle bells and his deep-throated, jolly “Ho-Ho-Ho". Ernest was also well-known as the “Voice of the Brevard Blue Devils”, announcing football games from the press box from 1954-2004. In 2015, Ernest was presented a handmade Quilt of Valor, a unique quilt designed especially for him, for his WW II service on the USS Massachusetts from 1942-1945.
Growing up in the foothills and living in the North Carolina mountains, Ernest had a passion for Bluegrass music and attending shaped-note singing events, where he would be called on to lead congregational singing. As a young man, he enjoyed acting with the Brevard Little Theater group as well as the Vagabond Players at Flat Rock Playhouse near Hendersonville, N.C. He always looked forward to Clemson University football weekends with his family and friends gathered to have huge tailgates prior to watching the Tigers in Death Valley. Devoted to the mission of Clemson University, he was an IPTAY lifetime scholarship donor.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to First United Methodist Church of Brevard.
A memorial service to celebrate the blessed life of Ernest G. Gilstrap will take place at Brevard First United Methodist Church, 325 N. Broad St., at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 22. Following the service, Ernest’s family will receive friends in the church fellowship hall.
Online condolences may be left at
Moody-Connolly Funeral Home is assisting the family.

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Service Details

  • Service

    Sunday, September 22nd, 2019 | 2:30pm
    Sunday, September 22nd, 2019 2:30pm
    First United Methodist Church of Brevard
    325 N. Broad St.
    Brevard, NC 28712
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Rev. Mike Holder


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Matt and Rebecca's friends at MGN & Associates and Rodney and Bethyl Smith sent flowers to the family of Ernest Gaines Gilstrap.
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Michael Smith

Posted at 08:53am
Julie and Michael Smith. Logan and Jane, Connie and Dicky. Julie and I will always remember the fun we had at the Gilstrap’s tailgate and Ernest always made us feel us like we were part of the family. He was special and y’all are in our hearts.

steve tate

Posted at 04:23pm
Connie,David, and Yogi,I am so sorry about the passing of your Dad. He was always kind to the Mitchell and the Tate families and taught me me many lessons about doing the right things in life and how important that taking care of your family and earning their respect and earning the respect and the love of your friends and neighbors was so important. "GIL" was my "UNCLE TOM MITCHELL"S best friend! I will never forget how "GIL" and "UNCLE TOM" hid my 2 brothers and me in the trunk of the car to slip into the races of Asheville Mtr. Speedway on a friday night. My brother Mike and I had lunch with your Dad a couple of years ago at tht Pisgah Fish camp. It was a great time as he shared with us the relationship that he had with my granddaddy Mitchel and my mother,Beverly and Tom Mitchell.. He told us how he had enlisted in the U.S. NAVY at age 15. He told us how he had survived the fire at Coconut Grove nightclub in 1942 in which over 420 people perished. Your Dad was a remarkable man! If I could have ever been able to pick the perfect 'FATHER FIGURE", it would have been your "Daddy",ERNEST-"GILL-HERE COMES THE JUDGE-GILSTRAP! Although I know that you mourn his passing--His life should be one of celebration! God Bless You!

Brian Underwood

Posted at 11:03am
What a great man. He will be truly missed by many! I'm very sorry to for the loss Logan, Matt, and family. What an awesome life he led! -Brian and Jessica

Matt and Rebecca's friends at MGN & Associates

Posted at 08:49pm
Please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for your loss... Our thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time.
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Matt and Rebecca's friends at MGN & Associates purchased the Dreams from the Heart Bouquet for the family of Ernest Gilstrap. Send Flowers


Samuel Simmons

Posted at 10:23am
Uncle Ernest was a real prince of a man. He was always so pleasant to be around and treated me with respect every time I saw him. He and I held a running joke about him wearing a girdle ( it was his back brace) that lasted somewhere around 40 years, right up until the last time I saw him at Aunt Peggy's memorial service. He made a great impact on his family as well as his community. He will be missed greatly. Samuel Simmons

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