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Ernestine Covington, 82

Ernestine Etheredge Covington of New Richmond died peacefully on Sept. 11, 2017, at the age of 82.

Ernestine was preceded in death by her husband of 57 years, Jay Covington.

She leaves behind two brothers, Al Etheredge (Shelta) of Rusk, Texas, and Edwin C. Etheredge of Palo Alto, Calif.; two children, Christine Hunt (Ken) of New Richmond, and A. J. Covington (Angela) of Searcy, Ark.; seven grandchildren, Christopher Hunt (Michele) of Frisco, Texas, Carrie Hunt Kearney (Dan) of Chaska, Minn., Stephanie Lairson and David Spencer Lairson both of New Richmond, Wis., Sandra [Covington] Gonzales (Jr.) of Dallas, Texas, and Alex Jay and Isaac Jay Covington of Searcy, Ark.; as well as six great-grandchildren, Collin, Ian, Logan, Calvin, Isla, and Roman.

Ernestine Etheredge was born during the Dust Bowl - Dec. 29, 1934 - in Sweetwater, Texas, the oldest of Troy Ernest and Flora (Spencer) Etheredge's three children. Ernestine played piano from a young age and accompanied soloists and church choirs throughout high school and college, during her adult life, and on beyond retirement. In June of 1956, Ernestine married Jay Covington of San Angelo, Texas, whom she met in the choir at Grace Temple Baptist in Denton, Texas, while both were students at North Texas State University. Ernestine graduated from NTSU in 1957 with a degree in Music Education. From 1956 to 1972 Jay served as church music director for a succession of Baptist churches in the Dallas area: Valwood Park in Farmers Branch, Midway North in Dallas, First Baptist of Carrollton, and Royal Haven Baptist in Dallas - and Ernestine served beside him, frequently as either pianist or organist though she often served as elementary Sunday School director. Ernestine taught piano privately, 4th - 6th grade Bible classes at Royal Haven Baptist School, and frequently held women's prayer and Bible study groups in her home.

In 1996, Jay and Ernestine sold their home in Dallas and hit the road as full-time RVers. Their favorite locations to pad down the RV included the Grand Tetons and the St. Lawrence Seaway - the mountains and the seas. Through all those years as RVers, Jay and Ernestine continued to lead worship in U.S. National Parks along the way. In 2007, it was finally time to relinquish life on the road. Jay and Ernestine took up residence with their daughter, Christine, and her husband, Ken, in New Richmond.

In the last decade, Ernestine prolifically reproduced landscape and still life oil paintings from their RV travels, transferring scenes from both photographs and memory. Working under the playful title of "Paintings by the Blind Lady," she donated many paintings to Grace Place in New Richmond for distribution to families able to move out on their own - she wanted families to have something pretty to hang on their new walls.

Visitation is scheduled at First Baptist Church of New Richmond (715) 246-2700,, from 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, with the service to immediately follow. Former Pastor Kevin Morris will officiate. Pallbearers are A. J. Covington, Ken Hunt, David Lairson, Alex Covington, Isaac Covington, and Greg James. A private burial will take place at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

The family deeply appreciates the warmth and loving support of their friends and family at First Baptist Church. They also wish to express appreciation for the loving care provided by Dr. Beth Adams of Stillwater Medical Group and the aides of Our House in New Richmond; and hold deepest appreciation and gratitude for the knowledgeable compassion poured out by Lakeview Hospice nurse Mary G., HHA Amanda B., and the rest of the staff - their long-term compassion and medical expertise made these last months, weeks, and days so much easier to walk through.

During most of their married lives, Jay and Ernestine contributed financially to causes closely related to spreading God's word of life in Jesus Christ, primarily through the American Bible Society, Gideons International, the Navigators, Samaritan's Purse, and Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Ernestines family requests anyone who would like to make a memorial donation to please consider the Gideons [(615) 564-5000,], Samaritan's Purse [(828) 262-1980,], or Wycliffe [(407)-852-3600,].

Services have been entrusted to the O'Connell Family Funeral Home, (715) 386-3725.