Ernest Decker was born in February, 1897 in Danforth, Iroquois County, Illinois (according to the 1900 census). He was the seventh and youngest surviving child of John Classen Decker and Mary E. Rife. (An eighth child was either stillborn or died in infancy.) He never married and died at a young age in a work-related accident.
An obituary for Ernest Decker appeared in the Watseka Republican on 30 Jul 1924.
"Ernest Decker, 26,
whose skull was fractured Tuesday of last week, while at work on the Corn Belt
Highway east of Watseka, of which mention was made last week, died Thursday
afternoon, July 24, at 5:35 o'clock.
At the inquest held Friday morning, Nicholas Saum and Jack Casey, who were also working on the Corn Belt, witnessed the accident and testified as follows:
The long tongue of the sub-grader was being raised by a chain with a hock (sic) fastened in the end of the tongue. Seven or eight men were pulling on the chain while Decker was in front to raise the end of the tongue. The hook slipped and the full weight of the tongue struck Decker on top of his head. Other witnesses testified to substantially the same thing.
Every care, both medical and nursing, was given to the young man, and while the case was alarming from the start, nothing was left undone to save the young man's life.
The body was removed from the undertaking rooms of David Johnston, to the home of the mother, Mrs. John C. Decker, who lives on a farm southeast of Danforth. The funeral was held from the home Sunday afternoon at 1 o'clock. Burial was made in the cemetery one mile north of Gilman."