Cotten Funeral Home

2201 Neuse Blvd, New Bern, NC


Leonard B. Earp

July 1, 1946July 7, 2019

Leonard Bass Earp, 73, died Sunday, July 7, 2019, at home in Vanceboro, North Carolina.

He leaves his wife of 49 years, Marsha Earp; his daughter Melissa D. Rankin; son, Scott Earp, and brother George C. Earp. He is also survived by his son-in-law, Todd Rankin, daughter-in-law, Jacque Franklin Earp; sister in law Vicki Earp, and six grandchildren, Wyatt Rankin, Mia Rankin, Dahlia Rankin, Owen Earp, Nolan Earp, and Henry Earp.

He is preceded in death by his parents, George Earp and Nancy Coker Earp Trevathon; and son-in-law Todd S. Denson.

Born and raised in Tarboro, North Carolina; after high school, he joined the US Navy and was stationed on the USS Kitty Hawk. Once returning home he attended East Carolina University and graduated with a BS in Industrial Management. After graduating he married the love of his life, Marsha and started his lifelong career in various Industrial construction positions, finally settling in Atlanta, Georgia, where he raised his two children and eventually retired.

In retirement, he realized his dream of coming back to North Carolina, having horses and some land. Leonard had many good friends whom he loved dearly and shared his passion for the outdoors, wildlife, NASCAR, and simple kindness. He will be remembered as a hardworking, selfless, kind soul. He was a role model and family leader. Nothing matter more to Leonard than his family and friends. He will be truly missed and always loved.

Funeral services will be held at the 301 W. St. James Street Tarboro NC Primitive Baptist Church, Friday, July 12 at 11 am. Celebration of Life will be held at the Earp Family Home 6498 River Road in Vanceboro NC 28586, Friday, July 12 at 4 pm.

Cotten Funeral Home assisting the Earp family with arrangements.


  • Funeral Service Friday, July 12, 2019
  • Celebration of Life Friday, July 12, 2019


Leonard B. Earp

have a memory or condolence to add?

Jim Russo

July 12, 2019

Dear Melissa,

I was so sorry to hear about the passing of your father. He was truly a kind and warm spirit and I know you shared an incredibly special relationship together.

Please know that you and your family remain in our thoughts and prayers.

Edward Lloyd

July 11, 2019

Back Country Horsemen of the Croatan and I were truly blessed when Leonard and Marsha joined our chapter. They have put many hours of dedicated service to the projects of our chapter to help others in eastern North Carolina have a great experience with their horses. Another example of his selflessness to serve others.
Leonard will be greatly missed by the members of this organization.

John Reedy

July 11, 2019

Dear Marsha, Melissa and Scott,
Leonard was one of my (our) good friends, colleague, confidant as well as a being always up to debating something with me for all the years we worked together. We made each other better at what we did.
He was an absolutely horrible golfer the few times I was able to experience his prowess or lack thereof! Rather than buy new golf balls he would go get two buckets of balls from the driving range and use those. Being ever frugal, his rationale was that they all had a red stripe on them so he wouldn't lose them and a couple hundred balls 'were only five bucks' he would say. That being said he would still search endlessly for a lost ball!

Kathy and I are at a loss for words with Big Man's passing. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to all of you and your families. Leonard is and always will be he kind of man I have always respected and looked up to...for all that he was.


John and Kathy Reedy

Bonnie Benedict

July 10, 2019

Dear friend, Marsha,
I am so glad I was able to meet Leonard & watch the big Clemson game with him when I was with you last December! What a kind & thoughtful man who was your "mate" for almost half a century.
With love & condolences,
Bonnie Benedict

Kem Sherrell

July 9, 2019

Leonard and I worked together at Williams Brothers throughout the 80's and 90's in Atlanta. His skill at production management and larger than life presence are unforgettable. All of us that worked, argued, and triumphed with him will smile as we remember him. He would have demanded it.

Kem Sherrell

Sandy Hagge

July 8, 2019

It doesn't seem that long ago that Cathy and I would come down to see the horses and hang out at the pool for a few hours at your home in Snellville. Leonard always had a project going ! Know that my thoughts, prayers and love go to you, your family and friends. I know he will be truly missed. My deepest condolences. Sandy Hagge