Lt. Col. (ret.) Allen Ray Earls of Rector, a decorated Air Force fighter pilot and longtime member of the Rector School Board, died Friday, Dec. 7, at St. Elizabeths Place in Jonesboro at age 65.
In nine years of active duty with the U.S. Air Force, he served two tours in Vietnam, flying 253 combat missions. He served 12 years with the Arkansas Air National Guard.
Earls was elected to the school board in Rector in 1990 and served continually until his recent resignation due to illness.
He attended Culver Military Academy in Culver, Ind., and graduated in 1960 from Rector High School. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from Memphis State University, a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Arkansas State University and a Master's degree in psychology from ASU.
He worked as a counselor at Northeast Arkansas School District in Paragould and sold real estate in the early 1980s. He also served as a Rector constable.
He was a member of the Rector First United Methodist Church and was a loving father to his two children.
He was born Oct. 7, 1942, in Portageville, Mo. He was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond Earls and Naomi Earls Pinnon.
Survivors include one son, Colin Earls of Paragould; one daughter, Rachel Earls of Little Rock; one brother, Alvin Earls of Rector, and two sisters, Mary Earls of Tennessee and Donna Earls of Paragould.
Funeral services were at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, at the First United Methodist Church in Rector with Rev. Roger Armstrong officiating. Interment with full military honors was at Woodland Heights Cemetery in Rector.
Pallbearers were members of a United State Air Force Honor Guard from Jacksonville Air Force Base. Honorary pallbearers were Leland Blackshare, Bill Wood, Jimmy Marchbanks, Jim Marlar, Scott Bucy, Rob Louder and Jim Chittum.
Those who wish may sign the online guest register at www.irbyfuneralhome.com.
The family requests those who wish to make memorial gifts consider the Rector High School Helping Hands Foundation or the First United Methodist Church building fund.