Contributions from Ed Jones in the March, 2008 St. Georgian
Earl is a native of Seymour Indiana and graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering. He has been retired since 2007, and in his professional life he focused on US Navy Combat Systems. During his career, he spent ten years as a Naval Flight Officer aboard the aircraft carriers USS John F. Kennedy and USS Nimitz.
He grew up in Reddington, Ind.; a 100-person town Earl calls “a little curve in the road” about eight miles outside of Seymour, Ind. He and his brother worshipped with their parents at the Reddington Christian Church, which was loosely affiliated with the United Church of Christ.
A split in that church triggered a spiritual journey for Earl that would eventually land him and Pat at St. George’s.
Earl remembers the time his father, who co-owned an auto garage and ultimately retired from the post office department, unsuccessfully argued in church against a hasty decision to withdraw from the UCC for reasons Earl characterizes as “not the least bit progressive.” As Earl says today, “That’s not the way to do business.”
After a period of being unchurched, including the 10 years Earl served in the Navy, he found a new spiritual home after his 1979 marriage to Pat, a Roman Catholic from south Jersey who now serves on the St. George’s vestry.
Earl met Pat on a blind date in 1976 when both were working in Virginia Beach—she for the American Cancer Society, and he for the Navy at Dam Neck. Four years earlier, Earl’s first wife, Nancy, a high school sweetheart, had died from Hodgkin’s disease.
It was Pat who suggested that she and Earl give the Episcopal Church a try during Christmas of 1992. They enjoyed the sermons, liked the parishioners and never looked back. They become members shortly thereafter.
He appreciates the openness and diversity at St. George’s. “It’s not dogmatic, not judgmental. They don’t tell you how to live your life…There are a lot of different people here, and I learn from them.”
His initial involvement was with the Stewardship Commission, and he served as stewardship chair for two years. He then became involved with the AIM 2000 renovation project and served as the chair of that group until he was elected to the vestry. During his last two years on the vestry, Earl was Junior Warden and then Senior Warden during the closing phases of AIM 2000. With the exception of the nave, AIM 2000 saw the renovation of the entire St. George’s facility and the replacement of much of the heating, air conditioning, plumbing, electrical and lighting infrastructure.
He became a member of the Nave Renovation Task Force in 2002 and then chaired that group through the completion of the project. His retirement coincided with the start of the construction phase of the nave renovation, and he was the clerk of the works until the project ended with the installation of the new pipe organ.
Earl’s contribution to Nave renovation went beyond leadership. Earl personally designed the complicated west gallery renovation which involved 7 different levels. He was able to correct issues in the creation of McGuire’s 3rd floor when the brick was being added incorrectly. He also took a major interest in historic ceiling preserving several pieces of older ceilings and has given talks on that part of the renovation and the renovation in its entirety.
After the renovation, he then served as the facility manager on a voluntary basis for about two years.
The nave renovation project spanned the retirement of Charles Sydnor and the selection of Jim Dannals as the new Rector, and Earl served as a member of the search committee. He has been a member of the choir and currently plays in the jazz ensemble at the 9:00 o’clock service and the chamber music ensemble at 11:00.
Earl became Junior Warden for the 2014 Vestry which continued into 2015. He also worked with the Diocese of Virginia and Region 2 and the Rapphannock Indians in preserving a church on their reservation. In 2016 he became senior warden.
Earl also worked as the part-time facilities manager at the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center and is a member of the Rappahannock-Fredericksburg Rotary Club. He was also on the staff of the Rotary District 7610 as the editor and publisher of their monthly newsletter.
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