The talented hands of the great musician fell still with the passing of Ernest H. “Ernie” Lake Jr., 72, a longtime and well-known part of the Keene community, on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, at his home in Keene, following a courageous battle with cancer.

His parents, Thelma (Locke) and Ernest H. Lake Sr., welcomed their son into the world on May 7, 1948, in Newport, R.I. Ernie grew up in Keene and was a graduate of Keene High School. He opened his barber shop, the VIP Barber Shop, and later the Elm City Barber Shop, in Keene, which he successfully ran, making many wonderful friends and sharing in great conversation for more than 40 years.

Perhaps Ernie’s greatest claim to fame in the area was that of providing musical entertainment with the Ernie Lake and The Way of Life Band to many on a Saturday night at the former Hungry Lion Restaurant in Keene, as well as performing for many weddings and events in the area. His band brought great joy and pure “dancing fun” to many!

Ernie was also a member of the Connecticut River Valley Underwater Rescue Team for many years, and a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks Lodge No. 927 in Keene. He also played softball for many years with the Greater Keene Area Men’s Softball League. He enjoyed hunting, boating and playing pool.

He is survived by his two sons, Sean P. Lake and Shane M. Lake, both of Keene; his two granddaughters, Shelby Marie Lake and Emily Grace Lake; a brother, David Lake, of Keene; a sister, Bonita Champney, of Winchester; and many nieces and nephews. A sister, Linda Lake, who died shortly after birth, predeceased him.

Sadly, Ernie’s wife of 52 years, Patricia A. “Patty” (Brown) Lake, passed away on April 19, 2020. Due to Ernie’s frail health and the pandemic, services were not able to be held for her at that time. In celebration of both Ernie and Patty’s lives, family and friends are invited to call on Thursday evening, Feb. 4, 2021, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Foley Funeral Home, 49 Court St., Keene. A graveside service for Ernie and Patty will be held on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, at 11 a.m. in the Monadnock View Cemetery, Park Avenue, Keene. Those in attendance at the celebration of life and graveside service are required to wear facemasks and to maintain the physical distancing protocols.

For those who wish, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ernie and Patty’s memory to Patient Care Needs of Hospice, c/o Home Healthcare Hospice and Community Services, P.O. Box 564, Keene NH 03431-0564. The Foley Funeral Home of Keene is assisting the family with the arrangements. To offer online condolences to the family or to share special memories, please visit