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He moved with his family to the Rush Springs area at two years of age and started school at Rocky Point when it was located east of the road to Alex in Grady County. Earl's first memory of Alex was at eight years of age when he went there with his father and bought hard cheese and sausage at Robberson's Store for the trip back to Rush.
Earl attended school through the sixth grade and with America in the grip of the great Depression, he took a job setting up pins at the bowling alley in Fletcher. When World War II erupted, he was placed on medical deferment and served instead in the Civilian Conservation Corps at Rush Springs.
As a young man, Earl had many jobs. He worked for several ranchers, breaking horses at Rush Springs for Bill Young and Clyde Burke, who was later inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame for his achievements as a world champion calf roper. Earl pick cotton, drove his first trip to Arizona at 15 years of age, gathered fruit and soon returned to Oklahoma to take employment as a farm hand around Alex.
Earl met Dorse Godwin at a social at Chitwood, a tiny community southwest of Alex. They married in 1941 and had one daughter, Valvia Sue. Around the same time, Earl bought 70 acres of bottom land along Roaring Creek near Chitwood. He worked at times operating a dozer for Simms and Harris construction companies in Lindsay. Earl purchased additional land of his own and did custom farming for several years. Over time, he built up a homestead on Roaring Creek where he lived and worked for 70 years.
After the death of his first wife in 1968, Earl met and married Alice (Sanders) Davis, a longtime family friend from the Elgin-Fletcher area who was also widowed. To this family, Alice brought two daughters, Dee Ann and Vicki.
Earl served on the board of the Grady County ASCS, became a 32-degree Mason and was active in the Alex Methodist Church. After his retirement, he and Alice enjoyed several years of traveling with their old friends and family, fishing, camping and meeting new friends. Around 2011, Earl and Alice left the farm on Roaring Creek and moved into town in Fletcher where he spent his twilight years.
Earl Manning passed from this life on September 20, 2018, at Chickasha, Grady County, Oklahoma. He was 95 years of age and lived a life dedicated to hard work and a John Deere-strong connection to the land.
Earl was preceded in death by his parents, Ruby (Newport) Manning Kemp and Noble Manning; two brothers, Pete and Eldon Manning; one sister, Ramona (Manning) Lemons; one step-sister, Evelyn (Kemp) Bender; his first wife, Dorse (Godwin) Manning; a son-in-law, Franklin Middleton; and one great-grandson, Caleb Wright.
Earl is survived by his second wife, Alice (Sanders) Davis Manning, of Fletcher; three daughters, Sue (Manning) Moore and husband Wayne of Alex; Dee Ann Smith and husband Dwight of Elgin; and Vicki Middleton of Fletcher.
Earl leaves behind grandchildren including Teresa Moore of Alex; Greg Moore and wife Tina of Shell Knob, MO; Trey Middleton of Kansas, KS; Arve Middleton and wife Angela of Chickasha, Mitzi (Smith) Wright and husband Eric of Yukon and Travis Smith of Fort Collins, CO. Earl is also survived by seven great-grandchildren: Will, Jessica, Annie, Trenton, Arianna, Victoria, L aci and Blake, and one great-great grandson, Spencer Moreno, of Alex.
Funeral services will be held at the Sevier Funeral Home Chapel at Chickasha at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, September 24, 2018. Interment will be on Godwin Corner in the Alex Cemetery.
Online condolences may be made to the family at www.sevierfuneralhome.com.
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