Ernest Dunning 1915 - 2005
Inducted 2000 Baseball, Curling, Hockey
Ernest James Dunning was born in Gray, SK to Walter and Myrtle Dunning. Sister Lorna was two years older and Kay two years younger. Ernie started his education at the Iowa School in the fall of 1921 and then attended the new Gray School in January 1922. He participated in all sports at school and in the community. Ernie lived in Gray all his life and worked with his dad on the family farm and with the horse and dray business. He met and married Kathleen (Kitty) Pay from Sedley, SK March 7, 1935. In the summers of 1936 and 1937 they worked for the Rural Municipality of Lajord building the road between Gray and Riceton - now highway #306. They started farming in the dirty thirties and were both active in the Gray community, especially in sports.
Ernie's father Walter was caretaker of a skating rink he built on his property in 1915-16 so Ernie learned to skate at an early age. He recalls being too small to open the door to the ice, but enjoyed skating and in his teen years he excelled at hockey. When the new Gray curling and skating rink was built in 1926 the cement for the foundation was mixed by hand. Ernie was too small to do this but he drove the team of horses hauling the cement in barrels on a stoneboat.
Ernie played with the Gray hockey team and in 1931-32 with a team comprised of players from Gray and Riceton. Their team sweaters cost three dollars each from Eaton’s. The team was good and Ernie’s hockey skills caught the eye of Father Athol Murray who tried to convince him to attend Notre Dame College Wilcox, but Ernie was needed to work on the farm and declined the offer. During one hockey game, a member of the opposing team was picking on Ernie a little too much and as he skated by the boards where Kitty was a spectator, she bopped him on the head. Everyone had a good laugh.
Curling attracted Ernie at an early age and as soon as he was able to get the rock down the ice he became an avid curler. He attended many bonspiels over the years and played all positions. In the 1950’s he curled with the Ford brothers in bonspiels and play-downs, winning several trophies and prizes. He taught his daughters (Crystal Frisk and Cherry Williamson) to curl and encouraged them over the years.
Ernie played baseball with the Gray team as catcher and right fielder. The team traveled to sports days all over the country. Most sports days ended with a dance and Ernie and Kitty were known to dance until dawn.
Ernie enjoyed fishing and hunting with a group of Gray friends and weekends would find them at Long Lake or the Qu’Appelle Valley in the summer, and in the bush country hunting in the fall.
Ernie was a volunteer and active participant in community sports throughout his life. He and Kitty continued to support community events and enjoyed watching all sports on television.