Ernest "Ernie" Velarde Jr., 77, of Kelseyville, Calif., a Lake County resident for the past 10 years, died March 3, 2002, of stomach cancer. He was born in Canoga Park Jan. 11, 1925, to Ernest Sr. and Frances Velarde.
Before moving to California, he lived in Yerington.
Mr. Velarde worked as a cattleman and cowboy. He and his family furnished horses and riding support to the early cowboy actors by tutoring the Hollywood set to the ways of life in the saddle. Jack Elam and the Cisco Kid were two of his closest students.
He was a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Posse and worked at ranches throughout the state either as a horse trainer or as an operator of heavy equipment. He was an actor with the Ramona Outdoor Play in the Pomona Valley and was a contributing member of Inventors International.
He developed an art form in which he burned scenes into the skins of homegrown gourds. His artwork received ribbons at many county fairs and showings.
He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and received the Korean Service Medal, the U.N. Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.
Among his survivors are his wife of 19 years Darline; brothers Frank, Richard and Leonard; sisters Juanita Heston, Rosemary Packard and Mary Merrit; two stepsons; three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
A private service will be held.
Memorial contributions may be made to Sutter Lakeside Hospital in Lakeport, Calif.
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