January 24, 1928 ~ March 1, 2021 (age 93)


Ernie passed peacefully and without pain on Monday, March 1, 2021 with his daughter by his side.   Ernest (Ernie) Denver Sells, 93 was born January 24, 1928 in Sherwood, Tennessee to Johnnie and Angeline (Smith) Sells.  Ernest attended school in Sherwood, Cowan, Sewanee, and Winchester, Tennessee.  Ernest joined the US Army at 17 years old and went to basic training at Fort McClellen, Alabama.  He served in the Pacific Theater during WWII as a sniper, earning sharpshooter and expert marksman awards.  He returned to Tennessee after the war and married Lila Cook in Rossville, Georgia on December 4, 1948.  

Ernie drove school bus for his brother and owned a service station in Winchester, TN before moving his family permanently to Troy, Montana in 1958.  He went to work for J. Neils Lumber Co and started for the US Forest Service in 1959.  He spent thirty years serving as trail boss, crew boss, fire boss, defensive driving trainer, fire spotter, tree planter, and finally road designer & timber sale planner for USFS Zone III Engineering.  Ernie’s service on the Troy Volunteer Ambulance as an EMT spanned three decades.  He was a lifetime member of the NRA and was an avid hunter with several trophies on display at Steins Market in Troy.  Ernie was also a life member of Troy’s John E Freeman VFW Post #5514.  He was a high five bowler on leagues at Trojan Lanes for several decades.  He was a member of the Assembly of God church in Troy for many years.  He loved music, gardening, flowers, birds, fishing, hunting, hiking, mushroom and berry picking, firewood gathering, and just about everything else that has to be done in his beloved Montana mountains.  He enjoyed traveling, telling his stories, and writing songs.  He was preceded in death by parents Johnnie and Angeline Sells, his brothers John, Buddy, Elbert, and James Sells, and sisters Ruth Wallace, Annie Pauline, and Beulah Short, his wife Lila, and his daughter Carolyn Stanley.  

He is survived by daughter and son-in-law Carene and Mark Cratty of Troy; granddaughters Danelle Stanley(CA) and Dana Stanley(TN); great grandchildren JT Klod (CA), Katie Stowe (CA), and Tyler Stanley (TN); a brother George Hoyett Sells, IN;  a sister Polly Ann Strope, TN;  numerous nieces, nephews, adopted grandchildren and many dear friends.  He never met a stranger.  

Visitation will be from 3-5 pm Friday, March 5, 2021 at Schnackenberg Funeral Home in Libby, MT. Services will be at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, March 6, 2021, at Troy Assembly of God Church with Pastor Terry Meroney officiating.  Graveside service at Troy Cemetery with Military Honors, and a luncheon back at the Assembly of God immediately following.    A memorial service in Winchester, TN is planned for a later date.  Arrangements are by Schnackenberg Funeral Home in Libby.  Online condolences and memories may be shared at


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March 5, 2021

3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Schnackenberg Funeral Home Chapel
422 W 2nd St
Libby, MT 59923

Funeral Service
March 6, 2021

11:00 AM
Troy Assembly of God Church
309 E Kootenai
Troy, MT 59935

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