Aug. 12, 1920 - July 27, 2007
NORWALK - Kenneth W. Earl, 86, of North Fairfield, died Friday afternoon at Norwalk Memorial Home after several years of declining health.
He was born Aug. 12, 1920 in North Fairfield, son of the late Wayne N. and Glenna (Lee) Earl and was a lifelong area resident. He was a 1938 graduate of North Fairfield High School.
In 1939, he married his high school sweetheart, Madge Brown, who died in 2002. One of his fondest memories was of the 1929 Model A. Ford Coupe (with a rumble seat) that he owned in high school and used to transport his classmates; another was the typing skills he acquired as a member of the first typing class taught at NFHS.
He had a long career in public service. He was the first fire chief of the Fairfield Township Volunteer Fire Department, serving in that capacity from 1941 until 1959. When the fire department was created, he drove to Indiana to pick up the first fire truck, a 1930 Model "A" Ford. The department still uses that truck today for parades and ceremonial events. He was the North Fairfield town constable in the late 1950s and early 1960s, after which he became a deputy in the Huron County Sheriff's Department until his retirement in 1982. In his capacity as deputy at the time of the Fitchville Rest Home fire of 1963, he spent many days standing watch at the makeshift mortuary as families came in to identify the remains of their loved ones. This was a memory that haunted him for the remainder of his life. He was a participant in the 2006 documentary made by Justin Zimmerman of that tragedy.
He was a charter member of the North Fairfield Lions Club, and an honorary member of the North Fairfield Historical Association. He was a member of the Steuben Church of the Master.
He also was a farmer for many years and worked with Arthur Burras both in his farming operation and his land surveying business. A skilled backhoe operator, he installed water lines and many of the septic tanks in the village of North Fairfield in the 1950s.
He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Jerold and Ruth Earl; by six grandchildren and their families including seven great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchldren; a sister Frances Caldwell of Fuquay-Varina, N.C.; a sister-in-law, Emma Jane McPherson of North Fairfield; and nieces and nephews.
In addition to his wife and parents, he was preceded in death by a daughter, Dian Morgan in 1980; brothers, Howard Earl and J. Everett Earl; and a great-grandson.
Friends may call from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Walker Funeral Home, 98 W. Main St. Norwalk, where funeral services will take place at 11 a.m. Wednesday with the Rev. Mitchell Jason Officiating.
Burial will be in the family plot at North Fairfield Cemetery.