Ernest E. Tesson died at his Wellfleet home on Oct. 28, 2020, with his wife, Katherine, holding his hand. He was 91. They were listening to Symphony Sid.
Ernie, as he was known, was born in Quincy on Oct. 23, 1929, to Ernest C. and Isabel Tesson. He moved to Wellfleet in 1945, and in September 1950, he married the love of his life, Katherine Dyer, at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Wellfleet — a day affectionately referred to by a friend (and thereafter, by Ernie) as his “one good day.” They were together for 70 years.
Ernie was an avid conservationist and was active in the Wellfleet community for most of his life. He was chairman of the Archaeological Society, worked with the Wellfleet Historical Society to restore the Ryder House, and facilitated the reburial of a 16th-century Wampanoag woman’s remains. Together with his good friend and mentor, Dr. David Belding, Ernie collected data from Wellfleet ponds for the state. He was a lifetime member of the Chequessett Yacht and Country Club.
Ernie’s family was the most important aspect of his life. He provided for them through hard work, thrift, and teaching himself to invest. He ran his own business, Ernest E. Tesson Painting, and made working close to home a priority. When things were tight, the family spent their evenings together shucking scallops, and Ernie never missed an opportunity to brag about his wife’s skill at the task. Summer evenings were filled with swimming at Long Pond and fishing at Field Point.
After retiring, Ernie loved to listen to talk radio and to garden, sometimes in tandem. His philosophy: never spend a moment indoors that could be spent outdoors. He enjoyed blues and jazz and was a voracious reader. He was always quoting from something. He held a great love and respect for Cape Cod and its history, wildlife, geology, and ecosystems.
In his final days, he was happiest holding court in his yard, surrounded by friends and family, who remember him as intelligent, wise, curious, opinionated, observant, and stubborn (or determined). He had foresight yet lived in the moment, and he believed in individuality and tradition.
He was predeceased by an infant brother, his brother Paul, sister Patricia Rogers, sons Richard and Patrick, and grandson Edward.
He is survived by his wife, Katherine, and children: Edward Tesson and wife Sue, Bezie Evangelista and husband Paul, Katherine Garran and husband John, Raymond Tesson and wife Diana, Ernest C. Tesson II and wife Sonia, Regis Legnine and husband Doug, Frederick Tesson and wife Judy, Matthew Tesson, Patricia Prescott and husband Jon, Nellie DiPinto, and former daughter-in-law Jane Tesson. He is also survived by 33 grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren.
The family thanks all those who helped Ernie in his final days, especially the nurses of VNA/Hospice of Cape Cod; Evelyn Roesler, George Shafnacker, and Ken Thompson; and friends not forgotten but too numerous to mention who brought meals, shared conversation, and offered prayers. Donations may be sent to the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia Congregation, Nashville, Tenn., or a cancer society of your choosing. For online condolences, go to nickersonfunerals.com.