Ned B. Earley, 87 of Fort Branch, passed away December 27, 2013, after a long brave, dignified battle with lung disease.

He was preceded in death by his parents Ned and Mildred Earley, his brother David, and his son Ned S.

Surviving are his devoted wife Mary, son Craig, Daughter Shelley (Kurt) and grandson Jesse Schmidt, Son Ned’s wife Marilyn and granddaughter Alyssa.

Ned B. began piano lessons as a preschooler with Paris-trained Elizabeth Todd. Miss Todd had hopes that he would become a concert pianist but as a teenager he loved playing boogie woogie and big band music. Nonetheless, she was extremely proud when he played George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” for his high school graduation. Throughout his life he continued to play for church, big bands, dances, special events, nursing homes, and Christmas bazaars.

Immediately upon graduation from high school he enlisted in the army and eventually became a member of the USAF 417th night-fighter squadron. After returning from Germany, he attended Ohio Northern University where he was awarded a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He retired from Potter and Brumfield in 1981 as Director of Purchasing and several years later from Art Wire Doduco as well.

Ned’s love of golf began in his teens and he became an excellent player, a “scratch golfer.” If he wasn’t playing the golf he loved he was watching the golf he loved, mostly on tv but frequently in person at tournament events. For years he was able survive winter golf withdrawal by playing ping pong, as in “killer” ping pong: no games for fun, Ned would take no prisoners. In this he was well-matched in his longtime friend Charles Atteberry. Ned was committed to all he endeavored: in for all or for nothing. He was avid about reading, crossword puzzles, Scrabble, cribbage, traveling here or abroad, building furniture, drawing, cooking.

Woven into this rich life was his childhood neighbor, classmate, sweetheart, wife. Ned and Mary were married sixty-four years. They simply had no memory of not knowing each other. Recently when words did not come easy – “Ned, I’m leaving for the beauty parlor.” Reply—“I think your beautiful now.” We are so blessed to have had this man in our lives and we are blessed to have had so much assistance in helping him through this last difficult struggle.