John Adams Early
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"The Mustang Man"
John Adams Early, age 82 of Pensacola, FL died February 9, after an extended illness. John was born in Chattanooga, TN on November 9, 1931 to Donald Edwards Early and Emma Virginia Adams Early. John was a direct descendant of John Adams, the 2nd President of the United States on his mothers line. He grew up in Signal Mt. TN, north of Birmingham.
John attended local schools until the 8th grade; he then enrolled in the McCallie Military School at Chattanooga. He claimed he was a poor student but did well on his college entrance exams and thus gained admission to Yale University. He then transferred to the University of Florida at Gainesville, earning a Bachelor of Architecture degree and married the former Martha Alice Kelly of Huntsville, AL on August 21, 1954.
After graduation John entered the US Navy flight program in Pensacola, FL. Following a reduction in force action by the Navy, Ensign Early transferred to the Naval Facilities Engineer Command. After a short time at the Civil Engineer School, he returned to Pensacola as a 3rd Officer on the Engineering Staff of the Chief of Naval Air Basic Training.
Upon leaving the service on October 14, 1959, John worked for Pensacola Prestressed Concrete, The firm of Look & Morrison Architects and finally returned to the Navy as a civilian Architect with the Facility MGT Office NAS Pensacola until he retired.
Soon after leaving the Navy he entered a partnership with F.R. Fritz and formed the Architectural Drafting firm of "Technical Arts." As the adjunct to the Technical Arts, he established the first Local Artist Sales and Rental Gallery in Pensacola, leasing space from the Pensacola Museum of Art.
John's first love after partying was cars, starting with a hot rod he and his father built during his teenage years. This love took flight when the Ford Motor Co. created the "Mustang," John bought what was likely the first Mustang air-conditioned convertible in Pensacola. He started a pre-owned car business, "C&E Motors" on Navy Blvd, in Warrington, primarily specializing in Vintage Mustangs and gained the title "Mustang Man."
John built and drove race cars at Five Flags and other local tracks for several years until heart problems barred him from driving. He continued to be involved with racing as a car owner and crew chief for the Ron Joyner Racing Team until his recent illness.
He was preceded in death by his parents and wife, Martha Kelly Early.
John is survived by his sister, Virginia Culberson of Mobile, AL; nieces and nephews; his fiancée, Anna Michelle Edwards and her children, Amy L. Betchy-Massey, Jeremy J. Betchy; 3 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at Oak Lawn Funeral Home from 5:00-7:00pm. Funeral services will be held at Oak Lawn Funeral Home on Friday, February 14 at 11:30am with interment to follow at Barrancas National Cemetery. Oak Lawn Funeral home has been entrusted with the arrangements.
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Published in Pensacola News Journal from Feb. 12 to Feb. 14, 2014