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June 12, 1941 - December 19, 2020
Ernest Lee Janes, Jr of Washington, DC succumbed to COVID-19 pneumonia on the morning of Saturday, December 19, 2020. He was 79 years old.
Ernie was born in Winchester, Kentucky to Ernest Lee Janes and May Elizabeth Botts. He was devoted to his younger brother Nelson, who predeceased him earlier this year. While close family ties always drew the family back for visits to Kentucky, the boys were raised as “army brats” and spent memorable years of their childhood in post-WWII Germany as well as multiple locations around the United States.
The family settled in Arlington, Virginia in time for Ernie to graduate from Washington-Lee High School, now named Washington Liberty High School. He then continued to travel the world in his Air Force career, including service in Vietnam, Thailand and the United Kingdom. His family eagerly anticipated his visits home to the Washington, DC area. He also kept up annual visits to see his cousins in Kentucky for most of his life. He was a cherished uncle to Nelson’s three children and a dear friend to his cousins.
After Ernie retired from the Air Force, he continued to live his life in service and never failed to put others first. While working as a security guard, Ernie would volunteer to work on the major holidays to allow his colleagues with children to be with their families. When not working, Ernie could be found driving his friends from the First Baptist Church in Arlington, VA to do their errands or keep appointments. He especially enjoyed taking them to see live music. Even after he settled into the Armed Forces Retirement Home, he’d never miss a chance to attend a military band concert or holiday show. He was a joy to spend time with.
Ernie was a gentle, kind, generous and deeply caring man. He lived with a disability that presented challenges throughout his life, yet never had a complaint. His seemingly boundless capacity to maintain a positive outlook was a gift friends and family knew they could count on.
Ernie had been waiting patiently to see family since the onset of the pandemic in March closed his residence, the Armed Forces Retirement Home, to visitors. Those he leaves behind find it particularly tragic that Ernie ultimately died from COVID-19 just days before the first vaccines were administered on the assisted living floor where he had been sequestered for all of that time, seeking safety from the virus.
The family deeply appreciates the awe-inspiring health professionals who worked tirelessly for Ernie and all their charges at the Washington DC VA Hospital.
Ernie’s family would greatly appreciate your help in honoring a life so beautifully, bravely and graciously lived. Please join us in reflecting on this moment, and take care to do your part in stopping the spread of the coronavirus to help other families avoid such tragic loss.
Ernie’s family and friends look forward to gathering when we are able to give thanks for the gift of Ernie’s gentle heart and loving, adventurous spirit. He will be remembered with tremendous love and gratitude. Burial in Arlington National Cemetery will take place later. www.storkefuneralhome.com.