Richard Lewis Earls, age 89, died at his home in Gloucester, on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. He was surrounded by family. Born in Sugar Creek Camp, in Harlan County, Ky., to Jennie Cole Earls and Fount Earls on April 26, 1931, Richard was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 53 years, Rose Marie Tayon Earls; his parents; half-brother, Martin Browning; sisters, Mary Ray and Relda Shephard and brother, Leonard Wayne Earls. He retired as a groundskeeper from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and retired with full benefits from the U.S. Army as a Sergeant First Class. He served two combat tours in North Korea as part of the UN Peacekeeping Forces in the 1950s where he earned the Combat Infantry Badge and two tours in Vietnam in the First Cavalry Division where he was awarded the Bronze Star. A self-published author, Richard wrote “The Grapevine Hole,” a historical novel set in Norfolk in Colonial Days.
He is survived by his four children, Patricia Ann Earls Neleski and husband Edward Michael Neleski, Ann Marie Earls Ritger and husband Marcus Ritger, Robert Lewis Earls and wife Katherine Earls, and Karen Jean Earls and husband Yaw Agyei Tutu; six grandchildren, Jennifer Wanda Barber and husband Michael Barber, January Evelyn Wells and husband Giles Wells, Elizabeth Rose Neleski, Emily Katherine Earls, Oliver Michael Neleski and Alex Cole Earls, and two great-grandchildren, Nixon Eli Smith and Hadley Giles Wells. Richard is also survived by many beloved nieces and nephews. There will be a private graveside funeral on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. In lieu of flowers, the family members request donations in Richard’s name to the Gloucester Volunteer Fire Department, Gloucester, Va.