Erwin Nunlist

Obituary of Erwin J. Nunlist

Erwin Nunlist was born to excel, whether it be climbing the Matterhorn in Switzerland or realizing the American Dream. With his immigration to the US he became a successful inventor and vintner. Erwin was inquisitive, tenacious, insatiable and curious, all of which led him to be an expert on many topics. Anything he wanted to do, he did well, always striving to be the best with an amiable and non-competitive nature. Erwin was born Valentine's Day 1922 in Niedererlinsbach, Canton Solothurn, Switzerland, to Joseph and Olga Nunlist-Speckert. He is survived by his sisters Marlis McRunnels (age 95) of California, and Lorette Hasler (age 100) of Switzerland. He is also survived by his children Heidi Jeffries (Richard) of Rochester NY, Mark Nunlist (Shannon) of Polson MT, Suzy Thiss (Peter) of Excelsior, MN; and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews in the US and Switzerland. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Ernestine Agnes Hubert Nunlist who died in 1984 and his siblings Erna Wittmer-Nunlist and Pius Nunlist, both of Switzerland. Erwin attended primary school in Niedererlinsbach and high school in Aarau. He received a degree in Mechanical Engineering at a School of Engineering in Switzerland. While still in Switzerland, he served in the Swiss Army within an earshot of Germany during World War II. While finishing his studies, he worked for Bally Shoe Company, a company for which his father was a managing director, making wooden shoe lasts. Erwin traveled to the US in 1949. His intention was to study and train for Bally Shoe Company. He met Ernestine Hubert in Mountain View, NJ and married her in 1951 at the Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church in Mountain View. His decision to immigrate was solidified. He worked at the brewing industry's Shock, Gusmer & Co in Hoboken, NJ until he was offered a job by Pfaudler in Rochester, NY. With this job, Erwin and Ernestine moved to Rochester in 1953. As a mechanical engineer, among other things, he helped to design glass-lined steel tanks and chemical reactors. Over the subsequent years, Erwin was a problem solver and generated 17+ international patents. His name and patents are found on the internet with a Google search. While living in Rochester, the family bought the farm in Naples, NY in 1963. Here, Erwin resided for the last 35 years of his life. At the farm he developed the passion for cultivating and growing grapes and producing bottles of fine sparkling white wine. Erwin brought family and friends together at his farm in Naples. He always had a large welcoming kitchen table, sparkling wine in little glasses, neighbors to enjoy this delicious wine and an irresistible twinkle in his eye. A loyal German Short-haired Pointer was often by his side, usually named Rex or Chip. Erwin was a lifetime member of Toastmasters, always striving to perfect the English language over his Swiss-German native tongue. He was also a lifetime member of the New York State Grape Growers Association. The family would like to recognize the many friends and neighbors of Naples who have become like family to Erwin over the years. This would include Bill Tilley who was an important member of Erwin's farm family, helping him for 58 years with grape growing and other farm work. Dave and Millie Brady and Jane Schenk have provided invaluable help, expertise and support to Erwin and to the family. A special thanks is given to all of Erwin's excellent caregivers over the last several years. As a father, Erwin was dependable, honest, swiss-direct, intellectual, opinionated. We think he had 19 lives, brushing with death many times. These are stories that will be told for many years to come. Here is a final toast to Erwin, a gentleman and a scholar, from a loving family and a much appreciated Gannet Hill Farm family! A memorial service will be held in the fall or when it feels safe to gather.
A Memorial Tree was planted for Erwin
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Baird-Moore Funeral Home
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