Ernest “Ernie” Alder



Ernest “Ernie” Hugh Alder, age 92, died Tuesday, November 21, 2023 at Bethany Pointe Health Campus, where he received kind and compassionate care in the final weeks of his life. Born on July 12, 1931 in Davenport, IA, he was the son of Ernest and Winona (Dundas) Alder. He graduated from Cass Technical High School in Detroit, MI, attended Omaha University in Omaha, NE, and graduated from Salvation Army Training College in Chicago, IL.

Ernie married Betty Lou Lewis on June 17, 1954, in Detroit, MI. As Salvation Army officers they had postings in Huntington, Richmond and Indianapolis. In 1957 he applied to the Indiana State Police, was accepted and graduated from ISP Recruit School. He was in uniform and assigned to the Connersville Post while living in Henry County until 1977, then accepted a civilian position in 1982 directing ISP Youth Service Programs.

In 1970 Ernie founded the ISP Youth Camp programs, still in operation. For high school, middle school and grade school youth in cooperation with service clubs around the state, more than 50,000 young people have attended. He also raised funding and built the ISP Youth Education and Historical Center in 1993 (also known as the ISP Museum) on 21st St. west of Post Road in Indianapolis.

He also served as Chief of Security for the Indiana Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s Home in Knightstown and as Director for the Golay Center in Cambridge City.

While always granting credit to others, Ernie received many awards and accolades for his work over a lifetime of service, These included Man of the Year, Huntington Jaycees (1954); Citizen of the Year, Cambridge City Kiwanis Club (1970); Freedoms Foundation George Washington Honor Medal (1973); Sagamore of the Wabash from Gov. Robert D. Orr (1983); ISP honorary Lt. Colonel from Supt. Lloyd Jennings (1991); and Hall of Fame Awardee from the American Red Cross (2010).

He served as President of the Cambridge City Kiwanis Club (1972-73) and as Lt. Governor Kiwanis Rose Division. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Cambridge City for nearly 40 years. After moving to Greenfield he and Betty began attending New Life Christian Fellowship in Fortville. In 2019 they moved to Crown Pointe Assisted Living in Anderson to be closer to their daughter Barbara. While there they made great friends among the residents and professional staff alike.

Surviving Ernie are his wife of 69 years, Betty Alder of Anderson; daughter Barbara J. Alder of Anderson; grandson Michael E. (Amye) Alder of McCordsville; granddaughter Lauren N. Alder of Greenfield, ten great-grandchildren; brother Bob (Marilyn) Alder of Lake Wylie, SC; daughter-in-law Carla (Terry) Haston of Greenfield; nephews Robert (Michelle) Alder, Jr. of Independence, MO; and William (Ginny Odekirk) of Manitou Springs, CO.

Ernie was predeceased by his parents; son Ernest “Butch” Alan Alder; sister-in-law Patricia Alder and numerous aunts and uncles.

A private family graveside service will be held at Riverside Cemetery in Cambridge City, site of interment with Pastor Mark Adcock officiating. Arrangements were handled by Erlewein Mortuary and Crematory of Greenfield.

Memorial contributions may be made to New Life Christian Fellowship, 1574 IN 234, Fortville, IN 46040; The Salvation Army Empty Stocking Fund, The Herald Bulletin, 1133 Jackson Street, Anderson, IN 46016; or Indiana Troopers Youth Services via PayPal at