Ernest Elvin Cobbley was born on October 10, 1942 in Challis, ID to Barbara and Elvin Cobbley. He was the oldest of two boys.
As a child he would scavenge parts (junk) from firepits and the dump that he would use to build radios, go carts, gliders and other contraptions. His adventures made him known in the community and sometimes got him in trouble. He helped his father building roads in Custer County and summers bucking bails and moving pipe. He was also famous for his ping pong skills that he acquired when cutting class to sneak to the gym and play with friends.
Ernest worked hard his entire life. He served honorably in Vietnam and returned home for schooling as an electrical engineer. In his early career that would take him on classified adventures with EG&G and Howard Hughs in Las Vegas. It was there that he met and married Shannon. Before they had children of their own, he and Shannon took neighborhood kids on adventures camping and boating at Lake Mead.
As his family grew, Ernest used his engineering skills to move closer to home. With the FAA’s VOR installation and then with the Forest Service he designed all their microwave relays in Idaho Region 4 and New Mexico Region 3. He also had his own businesses where he repaired electronics and later where he designed and built satellite antennas and receivers long before they were commercially available.
If he ever wanted something, he would learn how to build the thing and then make it himself. He was known for always having many projects in the works. Construction, carpentry, metal work, car repair, computers, HAM radios, landscaping, and trains were some of the things that filled his extra time. Sometimes the next project was figuring out the next project. He used all those skills to the benefit of his family. Even after retiring from government service he kept busy and was known as the neighborhood handyman which made him happy.
Living in Salmon for many years he was busy in the community. He served in the Salmon Search and Rescue and was a member of the Elks Lodge.
He loved to travel with his wife and children and delighted in showing them new things and places. He took pictures of them all, amassing a collection of almost 50,000 pictures. Many of them of electrical and mechanical components in subs, ships, and aircraft that he found fascinating or that he had a hand in designing.
He and his children spent a lot of time jeeping in his restored 1942 Willys jeep, motorcycling, shooting, or running the Salmon River, creating many fond memories for his children to lookback on.
His failing health took all those things from him one at a time which caused much frustration and sadness. Finally, it was pneumonia that took him, though he rallied to the end.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Elvin and Barbara, and his wife Shannon. He is survived by his two children Monica and Michael (Angela), his four grandchildren Amber, Aaron, Autumn, and Olivia, brother Steven (Andrea), nieces, nephews, cousins and friends that will miss him.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday, February 11, at 11:00 a.m. at Goff Mortuary, 8090 S. State St., Midvale. Interment, Sandy City Cemetery.
To send flowers to Ernest's family, please visit our floral section.