Ernest Phillip Mauro - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Obituaries

Ernest Phillip Mauro

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Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 11:44 am

Ernest (Ernie) Mauro passed away in his home in Lakeside, Saturday, April 20. Ernie, while suffering from cancer these past five years, fought the good battle. He left us with no regrets, as he lived his life to the fullest and he did it his way.

While the Mauro family, Gene and Margaret, were living in Coronado on H Avenue at the time of Ernie’s birth, he was born in Tijuana, Mexico on May 30, 1934. Ernie’s father came to the U.S. from Naples, Italy in 1929 and had lived in Coronado since 1935. In 1948 he opened Gene’s Cafe at 1025 Orange Avenue.

Ernie went all the way through the Coronado School system and graduated from Coronado High in 1953. He was an all round athlete, competing in football (three year varsity letterman), track and field and wrestling. In his senior year he was voted the Most Valuable Linemen, though only weighing in at 147 pounds. Ernie was totally involved in every facet of the Coronado High School and was greatly admired by his follow students.

Ernie was a charter member of the “Repulsive Five,” a boys clique. After returning from a very successful diving weekend at Punta Bunda bay, south of Ensenada, sans bath and shave, the “Five” decided an ice cream soda was necessary. The soda jerk, upon seen them said, “What a repulsive five,” to which they replied, “Right on.”

It was during this period that surfing really started to become the thing to do in Coronado and beach communities. Surfboards were not available on the market; it was a do it yourself sport. The Grimaud brothers built two Simmons style, fiberglass over balsa wood boards in their backyard. Ernie, built the same style board in the school wood shop. Ernie excelled as a surfer. His favorite spots were Sunset Cliffs, Coronado and K47 on the Baja coast.

Ernie’s father Gene passed away November 12 1953 the same year he graduated from high school. Ernie became the defacto head of the Mauro family. He made sure that his mother and two brothers, Gene and Fred, were financially taken care of, just like his dad would have. Ernie went on to San Diego State while holding down Gene’s Cafe and working at NASCO during the summer. He still found time to dive and surf on weekends. He continued this regimen until he graduated from State College.

Following college, Ernie was compelled to close Gene’s Cafe. Ernie was drafted into the U.S. Army and after boot camp was assigned to Germany. He was involved with unit sports activities and took soccer teams around Europe. The Army was so impressed with his work that they offered him Officer Candidate School. Ernie thanked them but declined the offer. On an R&R he went down to Naples and visited his Italian family.

Upon returning home he followed his chosen career path of teaching. His first assignment was in Japan at U.S. Navy Chitose American Dependent School on the Island of Hokkaido. A year later, he accepted a teaching job at George AFB (now closed) near Apple Valley, California. After that, he returned to Coronado and started teaching at Hilltop in Chula Vista.

It was at Hilltop that met the love of his life, Marlene. They were married in Reno, Nevada on summer break in the late 1970s.

In addition to teaching, Ernie started his second passion, which was land and home development. Under the title of Mauro Land Development, he started at Dictionary Hill in Spring Valley where he built a number of homes. He had homes in numerous locations from San Diego to Reno. He had a number of homes in Imperial Beach, including one where they lived on the beach. He built condos on the beach and lived in one of those for a time. His crowning achievement was to be Casa De Mauro in Coronado in the late 70s, a 14 unit condominium project. Upon completing construction in 1980, home sales ran into the 1980s’ Recession. His lender ultimately had to foreclose on the project due to lack of sales. The project ultimately sold out and Ernie provided 14 Coronado families wonderful homes to live in.

He had a great interest in cars. Among those he owned were numerous Porsches, an MG TC, and a Shelby Mustang that his godson Andy Grimaud recently returned to Ernie fully restored. Ernie customized a Model A beach buggy with bamboo doors and a surfboard on top. Ernie showed his buggy at the True Line Car Show, where it took first place.

Ernie is preceded in death by his wife Marlene; parents Gene and Margaret; and brothers Gene and Fred. He is survived by his sister in law Gail (Gene), nephew Rick (Anita) and their sons Anthony, Nicholas and Daniel. We all miss our Uncle Ernie.

A celebration of life will take place at two locations and times. First, at sea via Telephase, followed later by inurnment at Miramar National Cemetery, where he will join his loving wife Marlene. Times and places will be provided when available.