Charles Augustus Ernst Jr., 98, a company executive and World War II Navy veteran, died Wednesday, Dec. 14, at Waverly Heights, a retirement community in Gladwyne.

Mr. Ernst grew up in Ridley Park and graduated from William Penn Charter School. He earned a bachelor's degree from Cornell University in 1935 and then was an analyst at Eastman Dillon & Co. in New York City. In 1938, he married Jacqueline Walker, whom he had met at a dance.

During World War II, he served in the Navy aboard the destroyer Bristol. In October 1943, the ship was sunk by a German U-boat off the coast of Algiers, and 52 sailors were lost. He and the other survivors were rescued by two U.S. ships.

He was reassigned to the destroyer Leutze in the South Pacific. The ship participated in the battles of Leyte Gulf and Iwo Jima.

In April 1945, the Leutze was heavily damaged by kamikaze attacks. The captain was injured, and after the ship underwent emergency repairs, Lt. Ernst was in charge of sailing the Leutze home to San Francisco.

He received several citations and medals, including a Purple Heart.

After his discharge in 1946, Mr. Ernst joined Paper Products Co. in Media, a family-owned firm.

He later was a vice president of Interstate Amiesite Corp., a road-construction company his family also owned. He was Amiesite's chairman when it was sold in 1984.

Mr. Ernst founded Realty Register Co. to develop and manage properties in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

He and his wife raised a family in Gladwyne and later lived in Haverford before moving to Waverly Heights in 2000.

Mr. Ernst sailed his 40-foot Sparkman & Stephens yawl until the 1980s. He was past commodore of the Nantucket Yacht Club and a member of the Corinthian Yacht Club in Essington.

He enjoyed golf with friends and business associates, and he and his wife golfed all over Europe, including in Scotland. They were members of the Merion Golf Club.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Ernst is survived by sons Charles and Robert; a daughter, Julianna; 11 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.

A life celebration is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 19, at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, 226 Righters Mill Rd., Gladwyne, Pa. 19035.

Donations may be made to St. Christopher's. Mr. Ernst was a former accounting warden at the church, which he helped establish in the early 1950s.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.