Earl George Stockton Jr.
May 15, 1947 – November 7, 2018
Earl George Stockton, Jr., 71, of Sarasota, Florida passed away November 7, 2018. Earl was born in Kannapolis, North Carolina on May 15, 1947. He is the son of the late Earl George Stockton, Sr., and Eva Estella Douglas Stockton. As a child Earl relocated to Miami and lived there with his parents until his father died when Earl was 7 years old. After his father’s death, Earl and his mother moved back to his mother’s family home in Gastonia where they lived with Earl’s grandmother. Earl considered Gastonia his home. He lived mostly in Gastonia except when he was in the military and in college. In December 1986 he relocated Sarasota, Florida where he had gone to Ringling College of Art prior to serving as a Marine in the Vietnam War.
Earl was very artistic. He had to be recommended by an alumnus of Ringling College of Art in Sarasota in order to be accepted there. Earl’s mother received his draft notice for the Vietnam War while he was attending Ringling Art School in Sarasota. But, rather than being drafted into the Army, he joined the United States Marine Corps. Earl was only able to attend Ringling for one year before his military service. Earl’s career was not in art, but he used his talent at times for extra income hand lettering signs and race cars. Earl never lost his passion for art. He was also known to use photos that people supplied of family and created drawings and paintings of loved ones for them that they could frame.
Earl was a proud United States Marine. He advanced to the rank of Corporal during the Vietnam conflict. Earl was stationed in Quantico, VA at the end of his enlistment. He trained at Parris Island, Camp Lejeune, Cherry Point, Costa Rica and various other places in addition to missions in South East Asia. Earl was 50% disabled due to both feet being mangled from a bad airplane jump. Earl was a load master for C130 helicopters in the Marine Air Wing. His discharge papers say that he was an illustrator, and while he did indeed create illustrations for Leatherneck Magazine, documents and manuals, he also flew into South East Asia and did “secret squirrel” missions (counter-insurgency) escorting NSA (National Security Agency) agents into Laos and Cambodia from Vietnam. Until he died, during his sleep, he would unconsciously get into a position that he learned while having to sleep in the tunnels in South East Asia and Vietnam. This was an odd position with one foot covering his crotch and the other foot crossed and propped on his knee and pointed bottom up towards the ceiling (to hold the tunnel and create an airspace in case of collapse). Just weeks before his death Earl initiated a Freedom of Information request into the military to prove he had “boots on the ground” to increase his disability benefits and to secure survivor benefits. Presumptive conditions related to his service in the Vietnam War were Lung Cancer, COPD, Diabetes, etc.
Besides being proud of his Marine Corps service Earl was very proud of his Scottish ancestry. A few years before retiring from Mote Marine Laboratory, he studied and practiced and became a Regimental Drum Major for Scottish bagpipe bands in his free time. Earl was part of the clan Douglas who were members of the Black Watch. One of Earl’s cousins, Dean Douglas, was a very active bagpiper. Dean inspired Earl. Dean played the bagpipes at Earl’s mother’s funeral at Hollywood Cemetery. Unfortunately Dean passed away from cancer suddenly last year. After Earl was certified he was able to lead the Dunedin Military Tattoo at the Dunedin Highland Games in 2014 as well as a few other marches and Scottish dinner celebrations. Unfortunately, right after Earl was certified he had to deal with lung cancer, putting a damper on his ability to march any distance.
Earl’s education includes Ashley High School in Gastonia, NC; Ringling College of Art, Sarasota, FL; Gaston College Criminal Justice Academy; LaSalle Extension University; Biscayne Southern College – (degrees in Accounting and Business Law); United States Marine Corps; Georgia Institute of Technology School of Civil and Environmental Engineering; US DOL OSHA Institute and FL/US Department of Labor.
Earl’s employment history includes Carothers Funeral Home as a young man doing ambulance, deceased removal and funerals; Gaston County Rural Police Department, Gastonia, NC and Mount Holly Police Department, Mount Holly, NC as a patrolman or officer with many certifications, EMS, Criminal Investigation, Breathalyzer Operator, Doppler Radar Operator, etc.; Biscayne Sothern College – Veteran Affairs Officer/Admissions Counselor; Action Security Services, Gastonia, NC – owner, then co-owner and board member; The Timken Company in Lincolnton/Iron Station, NC – Safety Officer; Various part time security jobs though the early years living in Sarasota County; Sarasota County Risk Management office – Safety/Claims Administrator; Florida Department of Labor and Employment Security and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) – Inspector; Adjunct faculty at the University of South Florida School of Public Health and Environmental Services Department; OSHA instructor for Federal OSHA classes; and Environmental Health and Safety Officer at Mote Marine Laboratory – and also the administrator of Mote Marine Laboratory’s Scientific Diving Program.
Earl’s volunteering and memberships include: Past Member – US Junior Chamber of Commerce; Past Member – NC Collegiate Veteran’s Association; Charter Member – Gaston County Law Enforcement Officers Association; Past Advisory Board Member – American Security Council; Board Member – Manatee County Safety Council; Past Governmental Advisory Board Member – American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE Suncoast Chapter); FL DOL/OSHA Liaison to the District XI Hazardous Materials Emergency Planning Committee – (Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council); Member – American Society for Safety Engineers (ASSE); Member – American Society of Underwater Sciences; Member – American Industrial Hygiene Association; Member – AZA – Association of Zoos and Aquariums; MTC Alumni Association and the MTC Manatee Tech Foundation – Manatee Technical College in Bradenton, FL (Founding Member, Past President of the MTC Alumni Association, Membership Committee and Outstanding Volunteer Award 2016).
Earl is survived by his wife Nancy Joan Cross Stockton. He married Nancy in 1989 after his first wife, Deidre Dawn Priorie Stockton, passed in 1988. He was married to Dawn from 1969 to her passing in 1988. Also surviving Earl are his son – Joseph Evan Stockton and wife Jennifer Dianne Wiley Stockton of Los Angeles, CA, step-daughter – Kelly Ann Hurley of Fort Lauderdale, FL and grandchildren – Ryleigh Caris Stockton and Baylor Henry Stockton.
A graveside service for Earl will be held at 3:00 P.M. on Saturday March 9, 2019 at Hollywood Cemetery, North Broad Street, Gastonia, NC. The United States Marine Corps and the Gaston County Honor Guard will present full military honors.
Condolences and fond memories of Earl may be shared at www.carotherfuneralhomegastonia.com.
The staff at Carothers Funeral Home at Gaston Memorial Park is honored to serve the Stockton family.
- Eva Estella Douglas Stockton, Mother
- Earl George Stockton Sr., Father
- Deidre Dawn Priorie Stockton, Deceased Wife
- Nancy Joan Cross Stockton, Wife
- Joseph Evan Stockton, Son
- Jennifer Dianne Wiley Stockton, Daughter-in-law
- Kelly Ann Hurley, Step-daughter
- Ryleigh Caris Stockton, Granddaughter
- Baylor Henry Stockton, Grandson
- Graveside and Committal Service with Military Honors Accorded by the United States Marine Corps and Gaston County Honor Guard Saturday, March 9, 2019