Ernest Leon Westfield, Sr., 80, of Urbana found his eternal resting place at 9:55 p.m. on November 4, 2020 at Illini Heritage Rehab & Health in Champaign.
Ernest was born November 30, 1939 in Cleveland, TN to parents Glenn Westfield, Sr. and Alberta (York) Woody. They preceded him in death. Also preceding him in death were his two brothers Glenn, Jr. and Alphonso, Sr. and his loving wife of 57 years, Carol Ann.
Ernest and Carol were married on April 24, 1962 and had four beautiful children—all of whom survive him—Ernest Westfield, Jr. of Champaign, Jonathan Westfield of Savoy, Glenn Westfield of Champaign, and Renayee Westfield of Urbana; and 10 wonderful grandchildren, Jaelyn, Nolan, Dana, Ceigan, Tanner, Taya, Walker, Raegan, Kellan, and Ariadne. Ernest is also survived by five nephews, Alphonso, Jr., Kevin, and Bryan of Douglasville, GA, Gary of McDonough, GA, Richard of Knoxville, TN, and Mychael of Corryton, TN; and two nieces Sherry of Atlanta, GA and Wanda of Charlotte, NC.
Ernest moved to Champaign-Urbana in 1961 after success as a pitcher with the Birmingham Black Barons, which included being the starting pitcher for the East in the 1960 East-West All-Star Game at Comiskey Park, home of the Chicago White Sox. After his baseball career concluded, Ernest went on to earn degrees from Eastern Illinois University and Roosevelt University and work for the Illinois Department of Employment Security for 31 years, before retiring in 1999.
Outside of his professional life, Ernest was active in the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960s, serving as President of the NAACP of Champaign County. He also coached First String Inc. Little League, mentored children at Cunningham Children's Home, spoke to students about baseball, wrote and published poetry, and collected and sold Negro League memorabilia. Some might even remember Ernest as “Mister E” from the very popular Sunday Soul show on WCCR-AM, and later WLRW-FM, from 1968-1979.
A memorial visitation will be held at Renner-Wikoff Chapel in Urbana, followed by graveside service at Mt Hope Cemetery in Champaign at a later date, to be determined.
Memorial contributions may be made in Ernest’s honor to First String Inc. Little League, Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter, Kiwanis Little League, and/or the Negro Hall of Fame.
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207 S Prospect Rd. Suite 1, Bloomington IL 61704
First Strings Inc. Little League
C-U Kiwanis Little League
PO Box 1741, Champaign IL 61826-1741
Negro League Baseball Museum/ Hall of Fame
1616 E 18th St, Kansas City MO 64108