W. Nell (McKinnis) Ernspiger

September 1, 1930 ~ March 19, 2020 (age 89)


W. Nell (McKinnis) Ernspiger, age 89, of Evansville IN, passed away at 3:06 a.m. on Thursday, March 19, 2020, after a fierce and epic battle with cancer. Her goal was to care for her husband and best friend, Dan Ernspiger, until the very end.  She accomplished that goal and is leaving Dan in the very capable hands of their 5 daughters with explicit instructions and all of her special touches.

Nell was born the last of 8 children on September 1, 1930, in Evansville, IN, to Clyde and Minnie (Woehler) McKinnis. She graduated from Central High School in 1948. Nell was a lifetime member of First Baptist Church in Evansville, which is where she met the love of her life, Dan Ernspiger, in the nursery. Their first date was a church hayride, and they were married by Reverend J.F. Rake at First Baptist Church on September 25, 1948. They both worked in downtown Evansville, Nell at the Evansville Courier for 18 years where she was Administrative Assistant to the President. They were often seen holding hands and browsing the storefronts along Main Street. Nell and Dan were truly devoted to each other and are a perfect example of love being both hard work and lots of fun throughout their marriage. Nell loved to travel anywhere with Dan, especially to the beach where she was a master of collecting shells and other treasures on their long walks. Whether she was getting her hands in the dirt at home or running the kitchen at church, she was usually whistling or humming a tune, as she had a beautiful voice along with her beautiful spirit. She was a woman of fierce determination who rarely lost an argument but always maintained her poise and dignity. She hosted large family gatherings throughout the years and was always seen as the center and heart of the family.

Nell is survived by her beloved husband of 71 years, Daniel Ernspiger; daughters, Kathie Ernspiger, Sue Ernspiger (Deb), Kris Brown, Kara Delashmit and Kim Mattingly (Larry “Beaver”); grandchildren, Shelley Dillingham Thompson (Patrick), Kalah Delashmit Walker (Brett), Nathan Brown (Liz), Frank Mattingly (Emily), Samuel Mattingly, Emma Mattingly, and Daniel Mattingly; and great grandchildren, Tyler Thompson (Tabitha), Oliver Walker, and Lola Walker.

Nell is preceded in death by her parents, Clyde and Minnie McKinnis; sisters, Emma Kohl, Alyce Sanders, and Jean Lemcke; brothers, Lawrence Zeitz, John McKinnis, Bob McKinnis, and Tom McKinnis; and son-in-law, Jay Delashmit.

Private Funeral Services will be held at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, March 21, 2020 at Boone Funeral Home East Chapel – A Family Tradition Funeral Home, 5330 Washington Avenue with Pastor Steve Claspell officiating. A Live Stream will be available beginning twenty minutes prior to the service time. Please visit Boone Funeral Home’s Facebook page and click on the link provided. Burial will be in Oak Hill Cemetery. 

Memorial Contributions may be made to: First Baptist Church at 320 Cherry Street, Evansville, IN 47713.

Condolences may be made to the family online at

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 Service Program


Funeral Service
March 21, 2020

1:30 PM
Boone Funeral Home
5330 Washington Avenue
Evansville, IN 47715

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