DALLAS PLANTATION — Ernest “Ernie” Gilbert, 65, died unexpectedly at his home on Jan. 7.

He was born Sept. 3, 1946, a son of Dooris Gilbert and Dorothy (Stetson) Gilbert in Waterville and attended Waterville schools, graduating from Waterville High School in 1964. He went to prep school at Higgins Classical Institute in Charleston, and following graduation attended West Texas State University in Amarillo,Texas, where he played football. He later transferred to the University of Maine in Orono so he could play defensive tackle for Coach Walter Abbott. Ernie graduated from UMO in 1970.

Ernie taught physical education at Winslow Junior High School from 1970 until 1990. He owned and operated Gilly’s Gym in Waterville from 1969 until he retired. An accomplished powerlifter and Olympic style weightlifter himself, Ernie loved to coach powerlifting, the weight events in track and field, and strength training for other sports. His students won numerous national powerlifting titles, five IPF world championships, and one spot on an Olympic team. He also served as a Category I international powerlifting referee.

On Dec. 31, 1987, he married Sheridan Oldham in Oakland. They retired to the Rangeley area in 2006, where they enjoyed the outdoors snowmobiling, fishing and riding ATV’s. Ernie especially enjoyed driving their motorhome all around the country including Alaska. He was a member of the Waterville Elk’s Lodge, the Rangeley Region Guides & Sportsmen’s Assoc., and the Rangeley Lakes Snowmobile Club.

He is survived by his wife, Sheridan Oldham of Dallas Plantation; a son, David Gilbert and his fiance, Michelle Martel, of Winterport; his mother, Dorothy Gilbert of Waterville; two sisters, Cathy Shay and her husband, Bob, of Waterville and Carol Clark and her husband, Chad, of Readfield; two sisters-in-law, Nancy Demings and her husband, Bob, of Peru and Julie Wysocki and her husband, Paul, of Westford, Mass.; and his former wife, Jill Gilbert of Winslow; Ernie will be greatly missed by his nieces and nephews; and dear friends.

He was predeceased by two infant children, Sarah and Ryan Gilbert.

Condolences, photos, and tributes may be shared on Ernie’s memorial wall at www.wilesrc.com.

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