In Memory of

Ernest

Cyril

"Ernie

Sr."

Slongo

Obituary for Mr. Ernest Cyril "Ernie Sr." Slongo

Ernest Cyril Slongo “Senior”
January 19, 1932 – November 17, 2023

We are saddened to announce the peaceful, yet sudden, passing of Ernie at the age of 91, on Friday, November 17, 2023 at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre with family by his side.

Ernie was born on January 19, 1932 in Fort William; a lifelong resident of Westfort: Francis St., McKellar Place and briefly Hogarth Riverview Manor. He was educated locally and as a teenager began Slongo’s Accordion School in his parent’s basement. He taught many and conducted the Slongo’s Accordion Orchestra, which performed on CKPR television in the 1950’s. One year a student, Mary Macchi, caught the teacher’s eye and the rest is history. The accordion school eventually evolved into two retail locations of Slongo’s Music Center with brother, Norman, where they continued to offer music lessons for several instruments beyond the accordion. Their motto was: “Musicians Serving Musicians”. Ernie’s popular dance band, The Jesters, played weddings and banquets locally for decades. He also wrote, recorded and physically produced vinyls with and for other musicians. In addition, Ernie was a member of the National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians, repairing countless instruments for local high schools and musicians. His love of music also spurred extensive community involvement playing in the Fort William City Band, conducting the St. Agnes and St. Elizabeth Church choirs, The Alpini Choir and was on the executive of the Musicians Association, Local 591. As a parent volunteer he conducted the Jr. and Sr. FWCI stage bands. Affectionately known as Senior, he remained long after his own children graduated.

Music was not Ernie’s sole interest. After retirement from the music stores, he pursued a career in real estate. He also became a professional photographer taking photos and developing them in his basement darkroom. He was hired as the Valhalla house photographer capturing the many celebrities staying at the hotel. With the advent of computers he became tech savvy and despite struggling with dementia he operated his iPhone, with Siri, to the end. In his spare time, Ernie was an avid golfer and enjoyed watching Blue Jays baseball. He converted his garage into a woodworking shop and spent many hours building items for family. In his youth, he also served on the executive of the Juventus Soccer Club.

Ernie is survived by his daughters Wendy Kuhk (Rob Livingstone), Karen, and son Ernie Jr. (Ivana); grandchildren Tyler (Andrew Frando) and Lacey Kuhk, Joshua McMaster, Robyn (Brian) Paquette, Stephen (Marion Cuttress), Brenden (Haley Shipston) and great granddaughter Abigail (Squirt) Paquette; brothers Ron (Kathy), Norman, Ted (Linda) and sister Arlene (Mike) Pyatt; brother-in-law Eddie (Sarah) Macchi as well as numerous nieces, nephews and other relatives.

He was predeceased by his wife of 58 years, Mary, in January 2015; parents Cyril and Marguerite Slongo, in-laws Louis and Rose Macchi and sister-in-law, Violet Slongo.

The Funeral Mass will be held on Tuesday, November 28, 2023 at 11:00 AM at St. Elizabeth Church, celebrated by Fr. Vargees Devas. Visitation for family and friends will begin at 10:00 AM. Interment will follow in Our Lady of Charity Mausoleum at St. Andrew's Cemetery. Should friends so desire donations, in memory of Ernie, to The St. Joseph’s Foundation of Thunder Bay or to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Center would be greatly appreciated.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the WESTFORT CHAPEL, 420 West Gore Street at James.

Senior was an independent, strong-willed man, a conductor of all things musical and of every other aspect of his life. In recent years, as his ability to conduct declined he constantly challenged us as he attempted to remain “The Maestro”! We will truly miss him.