Penelope ‘Penny’ A. Ernst

Penelope “Penny” A. Ernst, age 73, of Tomahawk, passed away on Jan. 18, 2020, at Woodland Court Elder Services in Merrill, under the care of Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice. Penny was born in Prentice, WI, on Feb. 18, 1946, to the late Kaarla and Ardis (Crowell) Hinsa.

Penny grew up in the Brantwood area and was a 1964 graduate of Tripoli High School. After high school, she moved to Milwaukee for a short time before returning to Spirit Falls, WI, to lovingly raise her three children. Penny was employed at the Woolen Mills and later at Harley-Davidson, retiring in 2002.

She enjoyed the simple things in life…taking day trips in the car, going out to eat with family and friends, visits to the casino, and finding the perfect treasure at a rummage sale. After retirement, Penny and Howard spent their summers at North Forest Campground, where they owned a permanent site. Penny’s greatest loves were her children and grandchildren. She loved watching them grow up and spending time with them. Penny was truly a ray of sunshine who lived every moment, loved beyond words, and laughed every day.

Survivors include: Her Significant Other of many years, Howard Smith, of Tomahawk; two Sons, Darrin (Karri) Ernst, of Tomahawk, and Dale (Kim) Ernst, of Tomahawk; one Daughter, Mindy Ernst, of Rhinelander; one Grandson, Drake Ernst; four Granddaughters, Courtney (Ryan) Clark, Alexa Ernst, Baylee Ernst, and Morgan Ernst; three Brothers, Steven (Susan) Hinsa, Peter Hinsa, and David “Dick” Hinsa, all of Florida. Penny is further survived by several Nieces and Nephews; Howard’s Daughter, Jessica (Erick) Kooi; three Grandchildren, Amanda, Andrew, and Austin; and four Great-Grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her Parents, Kaarla and Ardis.

Memorial Services for Penny Ernst were held on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, at 11 a.m., at Generations Funeral Home, Tomahawk. The family received friends for Visitation from 9 a.m. until the time of Services at 11 a.m. Inurnment will take place at Greenwood Cemetery in the spring.

Generations Funeral Home & Crematory is assisting the family. You may view Penny’s obituary and leave online condolences at

The family would like to thank the staff at Woodland Court Elder Services for their kind and gentle care over the years.

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