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Ernest "Rock" Edward Sousa

January 1, 1922 January 3, 2021
Ernest "Rock" Edward Sousa
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Obituary for Ernest "Rock" Edward Sousa

Ernest Edward Sousa, age 99 years and two days, passed away peacefully on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, surrounded by love and in the comfort of his family. Ernie, also known as ‘Rock’ by his friends, was born Jan. 1, 1922.

He was Vallejo, California’s first New Year’s baby and the eighth child born to Joseph and Mary Sousa, who immigrated to the United States from the Azores in 1903 and 1911, respectively.

Ernie was a self-made man and had an entrepreneurial spirit from an incredibly early age. He started a paper route at the age of 10 and within weeks had others working for him. He worked as a Machinist on Mare Island before enlisting in the Army, in which he served for three years.

After returning home, he owned a variety of businesses including a diaper delivery service before building Napa Bowl in 1949.

Ernie built Fairfield Bowl in 1958 when North Texas Street was on the outskirts of town. His tireless work ethic grew the business into the premier nightclub and entertainment center of its time. He took pride in the fact that he never had a key to the business because in the 44 years it was open, the doors were never locked. He subsequently opened multiple restaurants, bars and Vaca Bowl. In 1998, he opened Stars Recreation Center with his son, where he continued to stay actively involved until his passing.

Ernie was a pillar in the community, employing thousands of residents during his time in business.

He loved to travel and organize trips with family and friends, including countless cruises and trips to Reno.

He was loved by many and will be missed by all.

He is survived by his daughters, Barbara Reed, Sandra (Ed) Brunet, Diann Craven; son, Ken (Kim) Sousa; grandchildren, Andrew (Melanie) Brunet, Alicia (Jesse) Nelson, Ashley (Kevin) Chester, Aimee (Joseph) Christensen, Jacob Snow; eight great-grandchildren; and countless nieces and nephews.

Ernie is preceded in death by his parents; 11 siblings; and many dear friends.

The service is being postponed until a later date, to be determined. He loved a big party.

In lieu of flowers, please raise a glass to Rock and wish him a peaceful journey.

To plant a tree in memory of Ernest "Rock" Edward Sousa, visit the Tribute Store.

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