Professor, scholar, traveler, farmer, husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather Ernest Paul Lane passed away on June 3, 2022 in Boone, NC. Cared for by family and dedicated staff from Home Instead and Medi Home Health and Hospice, he was able to spend his last weeks in his much-loved home.
Born in Greene County, Tennessee on November 14, 1933 to Fergus and Mabel Lane, Ernest was a direct descendent of Tidence Lane, founder of the first church in what would become the state of Tennessee. His father died while Ernest was still an infant. He was raised by his mother, a school teacher, and an extended family of uncles and aunts.
After graduating from McDonald High School, Ernest attended Berea College where, following the inspiration of his uncle Ernest Preston Lane, he pursued studies in Mathematics. He received his BS from Berea and an MS in Statistics from University of Tennessee.
After completing basic training in the Marine Corps, Ernest returned to Berea as a math teacher where he met his loving wife of 61 years, Shelby. He earned his PhD in Topology from Purdue University. Ernest taught at Virginia Polytechnic Institute before joining the faculty of the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Appalachian State University in 1970. He retired in 2004 after inspiring over three decades of students.
An avid explorer, Ernest travelled extensively. He taught for a year at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada through a faculty exchange program. He also spent a year teaching at Northeast University in Shenyang, China through ASU's program. He and his wife were active in welcoming Chinese faculty and students to Boone and ASU for many years after. They sponsored a student from China to come to the USA. Li soon adopted Ernest and Shelby as her "American parents."
Ernest served on several boards in the area, was a volunteer "drug runner" at the hospital pharmacy at Watauga Medical Center, and an active participant at the Boone United Methodist Church where for many years he served as an usher and baked the communion bread.
He loved spending time at his garden in Cove Creek where every summer he raised bumper crops of beans, corn, potatoes, and tomatoes. He was a hiker and loved the outdoors. Passionate about both US and Chinese history, he could be found reading about his favorite subjects or exploring battlefields and historical landmarks.
Ernest was preceded in death by his father, mother, and his sister, Joan Davis.
He is survived by his wife, his sons, Keith and wife Shelly of Banner Elk, and Preston of Greensboro, Li and husband Jim Hoffman of Yorktown, VA, four grandsons, five great grandchildren, and two nephews.
On Saturday, June 11, the family will receive friends from 1 p.m. prior to a 2 p.m. memorial service at Boone United Methodist Church. The family will gather for an internment at a later date at the Conley Ridge Cemetery in Penland, NC. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Jimmy Smith/Bill Paul Endowment at Appalachian State University for Mathematics Education c/o Appalachian State University Foundation, Inc. Advancement Services, Appalachian State University, Box 32014, Boone, NC 28608-2014. Please include the endowment fund name on your check.
Online condolences may be shared at the website www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com.
Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Lane Family