Funeral services for Earle announced.
Robert Shelton Earle (SM/Sgt, USAF, ret.), 81, died at his home in Galveston, Texas, on Aug. 22, 2008. Born June 8, 1927 in Little Rock, he was the only child of Haywood Shelton and Marion Idelle (Thomas) Earle, but was raised by his grandparents, Augustus Haywood and Janie (Keesee) Earle.
A week before his death, Mr. Earle told a close friend that he had “had a colorful life as a child,” and remembered tap-dancing on stage with his father, who was in Vaudeville for a time.
He attended Central High School in Little Rock but quit to enlist in the Army during World War II. After the war, he worked as a shoe repairman. He married Lillian Jean Young in June 1947. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1948, first working as a recruiter in Grand Prairie, Texas and later serving in the Korean War. During his time in the service, he earned his GED and completed some college and military courses.
He served in Washington, Japan, Korea, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Bermuda, North Dakota, Maine, California, and Greenland. He worked as an air traffic control tower chief at various SAC bases and retired as an Air Traffic Control
superintendent. Upon his retirement in 1967, he returned to Little Rock and was a sales representative for various chemical companies before starting his own business.
In 1975, he married Stella (Lowry) Taylor and moved to West Helena.
An avid fisherman, Mr. Earle decided many years ago that Galveston was the place he wanted to spend the rest of his life, and, although he suffered from Parkinson’s disease and macular degeneration, which left him blind, he enjoyed a full and active social life with his many friends.
He leaves his former wives, Lillian Jean (Young) Neal of Little Rock and Stella (Lowry) Taylor Earle of Helena-West Helena; his daughter, Carolyn Earle Billingsley of Saline County, Arkansas; his son, Robert James Earle and daughter-in-law Olga T. Earle, of Medina, Wash.; six grandchildren: Jimmy D. Billingsley (Carmen), Amy E. Buquoi (Mike), Robert Earle “Robbie” Billingsley (Andrea), Sarah C. Wood (Brent), all of Saline County, Maia C. Earle of Crested Butte, Col. and David C. Earle (Sara) of Seattle; and nine great grandchildren: Jeffrey Aaron Billingsley, Carrie Elizabeth Bentley, Amber Michelle Billingsley, Lillian “Lilly” Kaia Wood, Trulie Ashcom Billingsley, Jase Carter Billingsley, James Nathan Atchley Billingsley, Caledonia “Callie” Isabella Wood, all of Saline County and Devlan A. Ostrum of Seattle.
He also leaves his maternal aunt, Amelia Anderson (Jesse) of Dallas, Texas, and his close friend and cousin-in-law Alfred M. Cook of Little Rock.
Dr. Ray Meador of First Baptist Church of Galveston at Malloy & Son Funeral Home will conduct a memorial service celebrating his life at 3 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 28 from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Mr. Earle’s final wishes were for his ashes to be scattered in the Gulf of Mexico.
A veteran’s tombstone will be erected in Pine Crest Cemetery in Saline County, near the graves of the grandparents who raised him.
Mr. Earle requested that his friends make a donation in his name to the Galveston Garden Club, 3427 Avenue O, Galveston, TX 77550in lieu of flowers.