Cover photo for Ernest  Robert  Vyse's Obituary
Ernest  Robert  Vyse Profile Photo
1938 Ernest 2022

Ernest Robert Vyse

May 30, 1938 — June 2, 2022

Beloved father, friend, teacher and family member Ernie Vyse passed peacefully in his sleep in Bozeman on June 2, 2022, after losing the love of his life of 59 years, Ruth, on April 18th of this year.

Ernie was born in Fruitvale, British Columbia, Canada, where his lifelong love of the outdoors began. He loved fishing and hunting with his father, Bob (who passed in 1990) and his younger brother Stan (who passed in 2014). He and his brother spent time in Fruitvale on the DeBruyn family farm, which Ernie loved to share with his family on their return trips to British Columbia to visit his parents. Ernie finished high school in Trail, B.C. before leaving for his first degree in the United States in geology at the University of Idaho. In the hills of the Palouse, Ernie continued to escape to the outdoors as his respite from school.

Upon graduation in 1960, his geology degree led him to the Vale mine in Thompson, Manitoba, where as one of the resident geologists, he helped the miners know both where and how to safely dig for nickel ore. Ruth had been hired, as one of the few women in Thompson, in the office at the mine when Ernie spotted her on a mining tour. For their first date, Ernie took Ruth to the only restaurant in town where they started their lifelong journey over a glass of wine and a grilled cheese sandwich. Within six months they were engaged, and they were subsequently married on August 18, 1962. As part of the proposal, Ernie shared with Ruth that they were going to be poor "because he knew he could not spend the rest of his life underground". So shortly after the wedding, the couple moved to Eugene, OR so that Ernie could obtain his master’s degree in biology. Their son Ron was born in May of 1963.

Upon completion of his master’s degree, Ernie, Ruth and Ron moved to Edmonton, Alberta so that Ernie could pursue his Ph.D. in genetics. It was here that he met one of his best friends, Dave Cameron, who was also pursuing his Ph.D. The two of them were often hunting when they should have been working on their dissertations, much to the dismay of their advisor. Ernie loved to tell the story of the dance parties they hosted in the basement of their apartment. Friends and family may fondly remember the love that both Ernie and Ruth shared for dancing, with each other as their favorite dance partner. It was in Edmonton, that Kori was born in December of 1965.

Upon completion of his Ph.D., the Canadian government awarded Ernie a prestigious fellowship at the University of Sussex, which took the family to England. During their time in England, the family toured all of the United Kingdom as well as making frequent trips with their VW Eurovan to explore Continental Europe. In 1970, Ernie accepted a teaching position at the University of California, Irvine and the family immigrated to the United States on a ship named Empress of Canada. After a cross-country road trip, the family settled in Irvine to come to know Southern California in the 1970’s. Irvine was then known for its orange orchards, and it was there that Ernie was able to frequently borrow the UCI sailboat to take his family to explore the bay in Newport Beach and the Catalina Islands.

Despite these benefits, Irvine was a far cry from Ernie’s love for the mountains and in 1972 he decided to interview for teaching roles at both University of Montana and Montana State University to be closer not only to the mountains but his and Ruth’s family in Canada. Both Ernie and Ruth were quick to praise and have gratitude for the decision to take the offer to join the Biology Department at Montana State University. This was not only because they quickly fell in love with Bozeman, but also because Ernie and Dave Cameron and their families were reunited once again. Dave’s family had a ranch outside of Great Falls, MT and it was here, as well as in the mountain ranges surrounding Bozeman, Ernie returned to hunting. He also started to share his love of the outdoors and sport with Ron and Kori. Weekends were spent with Ernie leading the family on many adventures on skis, snowshoes and ice skates in the winter, to day hikes, backpacking, canoeing and fishing in the summer.

In 1974, Ernie and Ruth purchased a lot in the Westridge subdivision on Circle Drive, where the Camerons had built a home five houses away. Within the year Ernie and his father, Bob, with Ruth, Ron and Kori helping where they could, built a Lindal Cedar Home. That remained the family home until 2004. While on Circle Drive, Ernie was diagnosed with high blood pressure which he chose to address by taking up running. He, Ruth and Dave started with single loops around Circle Drive, before building the strength and stamina to run beyond the Westridge subdivision out South 3rd where he could be found not only with Ruth and Dave but often also joined by David Large.

Running local races became a mainstay of Ernie’s life. He was proud to have completed the Governor’s Cup marathon in Helena as a testament to his progression as a runner. Ernie was also honing his craft at this time in x-country skiing, first in classic style, before also becoming skilled at the skate format. Here too, Ernie was competing in ski races up to 50K in length and enjoying the competitive challenge of the sport.

One of Ernie’s other passions was teaching. He took pride in the accomplishments of his students, both in the advising of the Ph.D. candidates under his stewardship, but also in the advising role that he played for those who were hoping to gain admission to medical school. Due to the love that both Ron and Kori had for the sport of basketball, Ernie and Ruth became fans and season ticket holders for the MSU Men's and Women’s basketball teams and this continued in their retirement. Ernie finished his career as head of the Biology Department at MSU in 2000.

To his core, Ernie was an outdoorsman. He and his dear friend Ric Roche took on all 27 12,000’ + peaks in the Beartooths. He and Dave Cameron were also knocking off segments of the Continental Divide Trail. In addition, they were known for their canoe trips in the Yukon and the Northwest Territory. Ernie passed this love of hiking and alpine mountaineering to Kori and together they summited Granite Peak, crested the summit of Mt. Shasta and also shared the summits of Mt. Kenya and Kilimanjaro.

He loved heli-skiing as it often took  him home to his beloved British Columbia. He was an accomplished telemark and alpine skier, and he loved the powder days at Bridger Bowl. He famously tracked the number of days he either x-country or alpine skied in a year and into his 70s they still numbered north of 100.

Following the passion that Ron had for golf, Ernie and Ruth spent time in the summer on the links first at Valley View Golf Club and subsequently at Bridger Creek GC. His stamina and strength was the envy and marvel of many who knew him, particularly as he was able to stay as active as he was as he aged.

Ernie and Ruth are survived by their daughter, Kori (Portland, OR), son Ron and his wife Adrienne Roberts Vyse (Nipomo, CA), Ruth’s sister Margaret and brother-in-law Tom Bergman (Calgary, Alberta) and nephews David Bergman, John Bergman and Neil Bergman (Calgary, Alberta), sister-in-law Donna Vyse (Vancouver, B.C.), nephew Cary Vyse (Vancouver, B.C.),and niece Tracey Vyse-Desmarais (Kelowna, B.C.). Both Ernie and Ruth were proud of Ron and Kori and their accomplishments. They were also strong supporters of many of their friends' children and were considered by many as additional grandparents.

A joint celebration of life for both Ernie and Ruth is scheduled for Saturday, July 16th at 11am at Pilgrim Congregational Church in Bozeman. There will be a celebration in the sanctuary (at Ruth’s request) where we will share memories, songs and stories of both Ernie and Ruth. This will be followed by a catered party (as Ernie wished) in the reception area that extends to the church grounds. As neither Ernie nor Ruth, were fond of the formal, no formal attire is required. They were both known for recognizing and celebrating who you were and would request that you simply come as you are. Shorts, sandals, sundresses - summer attire - will be the best way to honor them.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Ernie’s honor to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank <>.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ernest Robert Vyse, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Starts at 11:00 am (Mountain (no DST) time)

Pilgrim Congregational United Church Of Christ

South 3rd Avenue, Bozeman, MT 59715


Click to watch

Please join us as we celebrate the lives of Ruth and Ernie Vyse. Masks will be required for the service and anytime you are within the church. If you are ill or experiencing any COVID symptoms, cannot join us in person or would be more comfortable attending remotely, we invite you to join us online. There will be a catered lunch following the service in the reception area and grounds of the church.

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