ORANGE - Ernest 'Ernie' C. Kirchberg, 88, of Russell Avenue, husband of the late Muriel Gerard-Kirchberg, son of the late Carl & Louise Tetzlaff Kirchberg, peacefully passed away on Monday, May 30, 2011, at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in West Haven. Ernie was born in Hamden on April 25, 1923, and was a resident of Orange for 80 years. He married Muriel Gerard in 1946. He was a WWII veteran, having served in Guam, Saipan, and Tinian. He was also a retired active member of the Orange Volunteer Fire Department. He was a member of the New Haven Seventh-day Adventist Church, and enjoyed volunteering within the church and the Town of Orange. Survivors include his long-time companion, Mary Cotteiro; two daughters, Linda Seideman of Harrah, OK, Betsy Kirchberg of Orange; three sons, Earl Kirchberg and his wife Kallie, of South Lancaster, MA, Paul Kirchberg and his wife Debbie, of Orange, Eric Kirchberg and his wife Ivy, of Battle Creek, MI; seven grandchildren, Alexander, Demetri, and Nicholas Kirchberg of South Lancaster, MA, Johnathan Kirchberg of Orange, Paul Michael Kirchberg and his wife Smita, of Milford, Michael O'Brien of West Haven, and Zachary Kirchberg of Battle Creek, MI; two great-grandchildren, Aria Kirchberg of Milford, and Kaitlyn O'Brien of Stratford. A Funeral Service will be held at BEECHER & BENNETT, 2300 Whitney Ave., Hamden on Friday, June 3rd at 9:30 a.m. followed by a Burial with Military Honors in Hamden Plains Cemetery. Friends may visit with the family on Thursday evening from 4 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Ernie's memory may be sent to the Orange Volunteer Fire Department, 625 Orange Center Road, Orange, CT 06477.

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  1. Dear Betsy and family – I’ve known your dad as a very familiar face annually at the Carnival and Fair – he will be missed by many. Love, Susanne

  2. Ernie became part of the Cottiero family 31 years ago. He was always the ‘gentleman’ in both ways you could define the word. He & Mary were like two peas in a pod. He filled her life with love and joy, for this we will always be so appreciative. We always enjoyed Ernie and loved having him as part of our family. He will be sorely missed by all but especially Mary. We know he is at peace now and is resting in the arms of the Lord. With Love, George & Patti children & grandchildren

  3. Ernie became part of the Cottiero family 31 years ago. He was always the ‘gentleman’ in both ways you could define the word. He & Mary were like two peas in a pod. He filled her life with love and joy, for this we will always be so appreciative. We always enjoyed Ernie and loved having him as part of our family. He will be sorely missed by all but especially Mary. We know he is at peace now and is resting in the arms of the Lord. With Love, George & Patti children & grandchildren

  4. First met Ernie almost 30 years ago when my family moved back to CT and to New Haven SDA Church. Fun times following my brother Rob around to the Kirchberg house. Will always remember Ernie. He was always there at church, in the back pew, the only one with padding on it. There, or in the fellowship hall. He could move pretty fast on those crutches too. Always had a smile on his face, and a wise crack. To be honest, I never understood half of what he said!

  5. I always told Ernie that there are many cats that have given up their 9 lives for him. He was always a source of inspiration to me and a joy to be around. My and Cheri’s heart and prayers are with the Kirchberg family at this time.

  6. I first Ernie or Mr. Kirchberg as I knew him then when I was a youngster at my parents church. Over the some years that followed I sort of looked at Ernie as father figure. And Ernies son Eric was like an older brother to me and was a great influence. When my Dad was working away from home or just too busy. Ernie would call my Mom and ask her if he could borrow me, not that he really ever needed my help but during my troubled years 6-8th grade Ernie would have me help him doing odd jobs and always the teacher there was a lesson behind it all. I fell out of touch with the Kirchbergs over the years as life has a way of doing that. But the lessons Ernie taught me and the love he showed to me and everyone in his life was not spoiled. I will miss that old man and as the tears roll down my cheek I know the world is a sadder place with out him in it.

  7. I first met Ernie back in 1956 when I began attending the New Haven SDA Church. After Bob and I got married we moved to the Midwest then back to Ct. in 1982, and have been in Florida since 2000. I will always remember Ernie’s welcoming smile and the way he really cared about people. Loved his jokes! We send our love to his family and those in the New Haven Church. We miss you all!

  8. My heart goes out to you all. Your dad was a great man and I will miss him at Camp Meeting this year. He has been a big part of my life , always looking for your family every year. I will miss him dearly. I always enjoyed being around him and my dad. They will both be missed. But praise God , they won’t have to wait long for the 2nd coming and they will see Jesus . God bless you all , I am at a lost for words right now. Sending you my prayers for peace in your hearts and your lives. Much love in Christ, Cheryl Smith Wilkins

  9. My prayers are with you Eric and family at this time of sorrow. Your dad had a great smile and he made me feel like he had known me for years when I had the opportunity to visit CT many years ago. I will never forget his hospitality and kindness.

  10. Dear Eric and Family, We were so sad to hear of your dad’s passing. Billy remembers him very fondly he truly loved your dad. Please know that you are all in our prayers and in our hearts, May God comfort you and your family with His arms of Love. Lovingly Billie, Debbie and girls

  11. Dear Paul & Debbie so sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. I will always remember Ernie for is jokes at the polls in Orange when ever I went into vote he always had a big smile on his face and a joke or two to tell me. He was a wonderfull person and will be sadley missed. May he rest in peace. Orange will miss him dearly.

  12. Eric, Ivy and Zack so sorry for your loss, but at least Ernie is not suffering. I want you to know if there is anything I can do , just let me know. Praying for all of you. God Bless Love LaVonne

  13. Ernie was a great and cheerful volunteer. I don’t know a more important attribute of practical Christianity than that. He gave with a smile, and set an example without giving a speech (even though he could tell a good story too). Now that he’s gone, we need a replacement.

  14. Ernie was a wonderful man. He helped me with numerous projects around my houses, always with a smile and a joke. He loved to make sure I got dirty, especially in crawl spaces and messy basements. His service at the Orange Fireman’s Carnival each summer was amazing. He’d always be there…handing out hotdogs or sodas…and always, again, with a big smile. He will be missed. Jerry Dunklee

  15. My condolences to Mary and all the Kirchberg Family. I cannot remember when I didn’t know Ernie. When I became old enough to know what my family unit was, Ernie was a part of it. I recall visiting him at the VA Hospital several years ago and leaving his room cheered and encouraged, just what I went to do for him. That was only one day in Ernie’s life and I know there were many, many more just like it. I will keep you all in my prayers.

  16. Paul: Words can not express how sorry I am for the loss of your father. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Please accept my sincere condolences. God Bless. Dipesh Jadav

  17. We will always have fond memories of Ernie. He always had a smile and a story. He was such a nice man. We will truly miss him. Our deepest condolences to Betsy and the Kirchberg family.

  18. Dear Betsy, Eric, and the rest of the family, I have the sweetest memories of Ernie at Laurel Oaks with his beloved Pug following him around. I knew few people who had such a positive attitude as Ernie. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this time.

  19. My sincere condolence to Paul and his family for the loss of your father, you have my prayers and that of your co-workers at Mahle inc. God bless.

  20. During our years at the New Haven Seventh-day Adventist Church (1971-1975) he was a faithful churchman. I could count on him for practical advice and to keep the atmosphere in a room on the lighter side with his wry humor. Seems like only yesterday that the fall occurred which injured him and profoundly affected the latter part of his life. I wish there were more like the Ernie I knew in all our churches….

  21. My heart goes out to you all. Your dad was a great man and I will miss him at Camp Meeting this year. He has been a big part of my life , always looking for your family every year. I will miss him dearly. I always enjoyed being around him and my dad. They will both be missed. But praise God , they won’t have to wait long for the 2nd coming and they will see Jesus . God bless you all , I am at a lost for words right now. Sending you my prayers for peace in your hearts and your lives. Much love in Christ, Cheryl Smith Wilkins

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