Obituary of Earl Russell Epperson, Jr.
Earl R. Epperson Jr., 97 years old, formerly of Pecan Plantation in Granbury, Texas, passed away at the Parkview Health & Rehabilitation Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on December 4, 2018.
Born on April 1, 1921 in Kingsport, Tennessee, Earl attended Millsaps College and Louisiana State University, where he was a member of the Kappa Alpha order. He began his flying career in the Army Air Corps at the outbreak of World War II, flying multiple aircraft and missions, and ultimately attaining the rank of Major by the end of the war. After the war he was employed as a pilot by Delta Air Lines, and remained with Delta until his retirement as a Senior Captain in 1981, finishing his career flying 747’s and L-1011’s. During his retirement years he continued recreational flying, and holds two flying world speed records from Dallas, Texas to Orlando, Florida in two different aircraft classes (one multi-engine jet record while employed by Delta, and one propeller single engine record while retired). Earl also served as a volunteer with the Pecan Plantation Volunteer Fire Department & Emergency Medical Service, and was active in the Tennis Association at Pecan Plantation.
Earl was an energetic and skilled tennis and golf player, and was known for making small wagers always to his advantage, but never seriously complaining when he lost. He enjoyed his house on the Brazos River and his many friends at Pecan Plantation and elsewhere. During his retirement years he continued playing tennis and golf at Pecan Plantation and other locations to which he would travel for tournaments and enjoyment.
Earl is preceded in death by his parents, Earl R Epperson Sr (US Army) and Doris Epperson, Colonel (Women’s Army Corps), by his first wife and the mother of his three sons, Maxine P Epperson of Roswell Georgia, and by his second wife of fifty-two years, Joyce E Epperson of Granbury Texas.
Earl is survived by his three sons and daughters-in-law, Earl Russell Epperson III and Mary Beth Epperson of Atlanta Georgia, Stephen P Epperson and Katherine H Epperson of Gastonia North Carolina, and Timothy H Epperson and Lisa P Epperson of Chapel Hill North Carolina, and by his grand-daughters Courtney Epperson of Durham, North Carolina, Brooke Epperson of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Hallie Epperson of Memphis, Tennessee, and by a great grand-son Jake Coe of Hillsborough, North Carolina, as well as by his step-children Thomas Earl Davis of Sherman, Texas and Janice Van Dyke of Kingwood Texas.
Also surviving Earl are numerous step grand-children, step great grand-children, and step great-great grand-children.
A special mention also to his step grand-daughter Janet Lynn Van Dyke, Lt. Colonel, United States Air Force, in remembrance of the many hours they enjoyed discussing the challenges and joys of flying jet aircraft.
The family will welcome friends at an informal reception in memory of Earl from 3:00pm to 5:00pm on March 13, 2019 at Atria South Point Walk located at 5705 Fayetteville Rd, Durham, NC 27713.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Pecan Plantation Volunteer Fire Department and Emergency Medical Service (VFD&EMS), 9518 Montecello Drive, Pecan Plantation, Granbury Texas 76049, or to the charity of your choice.
Walkers Funeral Home in Chapel Hill, NC is serving the family, online condolences may be submitted at www.walkersfuneralservice.com.