Catherine Palsho, Beloved Tavern Owner Remembered

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ-Catherine Palsho a long time tavern owner in Robbinsville, passed away Friday at home. She will be remembered with a friendly smile and a warm hart. She loved her poodles and were always by her side while she greeted patrons of Ernie’s Tavern. See obituary below posted by Saul Funeral Homes:


Catherine Marie (McGee) Palsho, longtime and legendary proprietor of Ernie’s Tavern in Robbinsville, passed away peacefully at home with her family on November 15, 2019 at age 95. Her beloved poodle Piper was by her side.

The eldest of five children, Catherine was born in Tonawanda, NY, on June 12, 1924, to Anna (Schwenck) and Herbert McGee, who raised their family in their Victorian B&B and engaged Catherine at an early age in the hospitality industry that would later define her life and legacy.

After graduating from Lowville Academy, Catherine ventured from her hometown of Turin, NY, to attend Rider College in New Jersey. One day, a fortuitous loss of luggage at the Trenton train station put her in the path of Ernest (Ernie) Palsho, who was working at the railroad and helped retrieve her lost bag. The two were married on July 22, 1944.

In 1947 the pair purchased the Robbinsville Hotel, renaming it Ernie’s Old Robbinsville Hotel. Together with her husband, Catherine made Ernie’s a warm and welcoming community spot, while raising five children. A Philadelphia Eagles season-ticketholder, Catherine enjoyed golf and sharing her signature dishes — Buffalo wings and “Ma’s cutlet” – with family and friends. She loved roses and for decades cultivated a stunning garden in her backyard.

After Ernie’s passing in 1999, Catherine was determined that the tavern and its traditions continue. And they did. Patrons have enjoyed decades of lively Christmas Eve sing-alongs, popular Wednesday burger nights, and cold beers with neighbors, all with congenial Catherine at the helm. Catherine also ensured that the tavern actively gave back to the community she loved, sponsoring local sports teams and charity events.

Setting an amazingly high bar for rigor and work ethic, Catherine never entertained the notion of retiring and was in full command at the tavern until just before her passing. Thanks to Catherine, Ernie’s has operated continuously for 72 years, and continues to live on.

Catherine, of Scottish descent, was honored as Irish Person of the Year at the Robbinsville St. Patrick’s Day Parade and received a proclamation from the Robbinsville Mayor commending the longevity of her business. She was a member of the NJ Tavern Association, and a trustee of the Ernest C. Palsho Memorial Fund.

Known as “Ma” to her 11 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, she enjoyed gathering her large family at her Jersey Shore retreat, where she oversaw great-grandchildren crabbing on the same docks her children once did. She was a longtime member of the Gilford Park Yacht Club.

Predeceased by her parents; her loving husband of 54 years, Ernest C. Palsho; and her sister, Irene Marks; Catherine is survived by sister, Evelyn Moonan; brothers, William McGee (Emily) and Herbert McGee (Chrissy); daughters, Sandra Davall (Barry), Susan Hipple (John), JoAnn Hathazi, Cathy Lubbe (David); and son, Ernest Palsho, Jr. (Allison). She is also survived by grandchildren, Karin Warner (Tim), Jeffrey Davall (Susan), John, Kate and Jason Hipple, Susan (Dodi) Mahnovski (Sergej), Michael Hathazi (Lauren), Morgan and Julianna Lubbe, Ernest Palsho III and Hayley Palsho; as well as great-grandchildren, Katherine, Jack and Ava Warner, Micah Laborde Hipple, Henry, Faye and Benjamin Davall, and Adrian and Sebastian Mahnovski.

Visitation for family and friends will be held on Friday, November 22, 2019, from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at the Saul Colonial Home, 3795 Nottingham Way, Hamilton Square, NJ. Funeral services will be held Saturday, November 23, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. at the Saul Colonial Home, with interment following at Princeton Memorial Park, Robbinsville, NJ.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Ernest C. Palsho Memorial Fund online or mailed to the Ernest C. Palsho Memorial Fund, Community Foundation of New Jersey, Post Office Box 338, Morristown, NJ 07963-0338, The fund provides scholarships to college-bound Robbinsville students.