Ernest S. AcquistoSeptember 21, 1922 ~ October 27, 2017 (age 95)
Ernest Acquisto passed away peacefully into the hands of God on October, 27, Washington Hospital Center, Arlington, Va. He died of a traumatic brain injury due to a fall. “Ernie” was the youngest of four children born to Vincent and Rosa Acquisto, who were of Italian descent. His family lived in Jamaica, New York for most of Ernie’s fun-filled childhood. In addition to playing sports, he learned the construction trade from his father, helping to build their new home from the ground up. His passion for music and the bass fiddle began at age 12, learning from his older brother John. At age 17, Ernie began playing with an all-black jazz band in Harlem. He would continue to play throughout his life at various hotels, clubs, impromptu jam sessions’ at Fort Myers Officer’s Club, and the most notable Duke Ellington, Buddy Reba, Bob Grassy and George Brown’s Bands. At the 40th VOA Anniversary Celebration guests were entertained with “Live Music” by Ernest Acquisto and Orchestra.
Although music was a lifelong passion, he parlayed his experience into a career in the broadcasting industry. He worked for World Broadcasting and Empire Broadcasting recording commercials and music. On January 28, 1950 he was hired by the Voice of America, NY, spending the next 4 years, traveling abroad inspecting, evaluating and installing studio equipment. His unique people person skills resulted in an appointment to Public Relations Representative interfacing, with VOA stations in many countries.
He worked with the Japanese, using the first hand held reporting camera to cover news with sound. Subsequently he built TV studios in Washington, DC that eventually became part of the former U.S. Information Agency’s TV operations. In the late 50’s he was promoted to Chief of the VOA Plant Studio and Support complex which would employ more than 200 employees, broadcasting around the world, around the clock in 47 languages. His expertise, performance, commitment to hard work, loyalty and honesty were recognized with the “Voice of America Lifetime Achievement Awards.” Upon retirement at age 67 he planned and organized the VOA Retirement Luncheon Reunions at Pier 7 Restaurant for over 20 years. In 2012 he was interviewed and filmed for a 70th Anniversary Video as the retired Chief, Technical Operations (You Tube).
Although Ernie did not marry he enjoyed an endearing 54 year relationship with Agnes Timcheck, his VOA assistant and “best friend.” He is best known by his many other friends and colleagues for his honesty, loyalty and generosity. A favorite phrase voiced in later years “You be Frank….and I will be Ernest.”
He lived in his Falls Church for over 30 years, and was long time devout member of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church. Memorial services: St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, Saturday, November 18, 10 AM, 3305 Glen Carlyn Road, Falls Church, Va. with inurnment at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers Memorial Contributions to St Anthony’s Catholic Church or the Salvation Army.