Earl was a long time farmer and rancher in Jackson County. For many years he worked along-side his wife and children on the family’s cattle and wheat operation. Earl had a great respect for the land and a true desire for raising wheat and Angus Cattle. Earl was involved in many other aspects of agriculture including his many years of service with the Oklahoma Wheat Commission. Earl was a charter member of the wheat commission. In the 1970’s a representative of the wheat commission Earl had the opportunity to host and entertain many delegations of wheat producers from other countries including Japan and Korea. Earl served as a past President of the Oklahoma Wheat Growers Association and also was also honored by the two organizations by receiving the “Staff of Life Award” and the “Mr. Wheat Award”.
Earl was involved in the cattle industry as a notable Angus cattle producer in the state of Oklahoma. His devotion for raising cattle and to the Angus cattle breed led him to be involved in many organizations related to cattle production. In past years he severed as a member of the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Angus Association. He also received the honor as being named “Mr. Angus” by the organization and was also inducted into to the Oklahoma Angus Breeder Hall of Fame. He was also a member of the Oklahoma and the National Cattlemen Associations, and the Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers Association.
Earl was involved with Western Oklahoma State College in Altus where he served on the Board of Regents for 25 years. He was instrumental in helping to establish the college’s Agriculture Program. He served as a co-founder of the WOSC Aggie Club and was also a co-founder of the college’s Rodeo Club and served as chairman of the WOSC Agriculture Advisory Committee. Earl had a strong desire to insure that the college was able develop a successful agriculture program and devoted many efforts to this cause. In 2011 Earl was honored by the agriculture department by being the first ever recipient of the “Pioneer in Agriculture” award.
Earl and his wife Sweet Pea were devoted Democrats. Over the years he was involved in many causes related to the Democratic Party on both the State and County levels. He served on the executive committee of the State Democratic Party. He was a State Delegate at the National Democratic Conventions in 1992 and in 1996.
Earl enjoyed spending time with his family. He was very proud of his children and grandchildren and aside from farming and ranching, Earl enjoyed supporting the local Ag Youth in Jackson County and especially enjoyed watching livestock shows.
Earl is survived by his three children, Don Abernathy and wife Gayle of Altus, Marita Lane and husband Dr. Kevin Lane of Quanah, Texas, and Tommy Abernathy and wife Kristy of Altus; nine grandchildren, Ashley Abernathy, Braddock Abernathy, Abby Abernathy, Dr. Lance Lane and wife Dr. Lauren Lane, Dr. Grant Lane, Alex Lane, Lindsey Dorton and husband Kyle, Lori Miller and husband Boone, and Reed Abernathy; and one great-grandson, Kamden Dorton.
He was preceded in death by his wife Sweet Pea on Jan. 1, 2012.
Services will be held Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Lowell-Tims Chapel with Dr. Jeff Moore officiating. The family will receive visitors at the funeral home on Wednesday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Lowell-Tims Funeral Home in Altus. Interment will follow at the Altus City Cemetery under the direction of Lowell-Tims Funeral Home.
On line tributes may be made to the family at www.lowell-tims.com