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Ernest McKinley Waddell, beloved son, brother, husband and father passed away peacefully at his home in Maumelle, Arkansas on Friday, December 29, 2017. Ernie, as he was affectionately known, was born November 21, 1946 in Wilmington, North Carolina, the 5th of nine children of William and Naomi Lofton Waddell. He was preceded in death by parents, two sisters Rebecca and Jacqueline, and mother-in-law Edythe N. Hardway.
Ernie received his early religious training in the Mount Olive AME Church in Wilmington, North Carolina. He was educated in the Wilmington school system, graduating from Williston Senior High School with the class of 1965. Upon completion of high school, Ernie served his country by enlisting in the United States Air Force in which his four-year tour of duty included Vietnam.
Ernie began his professional career in sales at the Cavalier Clothing Store in Washington, D.C. where he shared his passion for his own sophisticated, tailored look with customers and established a solid reputation for dressing gentlemen of distinction. He later joined the District of Columbia Prison System as a Correctional Officer, and was also employed with Greyhound Bus System as a Driver.
He was married to Dr. Norene Fleming, and they parented two children: Ernest, Jr. and Mia Kamara. With a keen eye and skilled hand he enjoyed landscape design, planting trees, and playing basketball in the yard with family. He also spent a great deal of time with the kids cooking for them and shuttling them to swim and basketball practices. Ernie is well remembered for his attempts to sing, dance, and fake Italian mobster voices.
In 1996 Ernie, his four brothers, and close friends established the Waddell Group Endowment Fund Scholarship for Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, North Carolina which remains today as a support for student athletes during the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Basketball Tournament.
Ernie loved spending time with his family and friends, and had a fondness for Airedale Terriers, especially Bennie. He had a penchant for entertaining at his Maumelle home, consistently ensuring that each guest was not only warmly received, but also catered to. In his spare time he enjoyed restoring his 1981 Corvette, and remodeling old houses that eventually became income properties.
A gentleman who played strictly by the rules of a gentleman’s game, golf was his passion. His sole desire was to “beat the course.” Yet he graciously and generously taught friends and strangers the fundamentals of golf, always with the goal of helping others to become better golfers. In addition to his impeccable dress, he was known for his sweet swing of the golf club.
Ernie is survived by his loving wife of 13 years Linda Hardway-Waddell of Maumelle, AR; six siblings: William Edward, Jr. of Washington, DC; Geraldine of Philadelphia, PA; Frederick (Patricia) of Goldsboro, NC; Nathaniel (Mary) of Springfield, VA; Rudolph (Bernadette) of Richmond, VA; and Judith (Felix) of Fayetteville, NC; son Ernest, Jr. (Jina) of Brooklyn, NY; daughter Mia (Antonio) of Washington, DC; sister-in-law Adonna Hardway of Knoxville, TN; nephews: Terry (Beatrice), Nathaniel II, Brandon, Brent, Albert Dotson, and AJ Donaldson; niece Natalee Qahhaar; great nephews: Leon and Anthony; great grand-nieces: Malia and Naomi; aunts: Mardelle L. Walker of San Diego, CA and Eloise Waddell of Tallahassee, FL; and a host of other relatives, friends, and very special golf buddies.