It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Earl Oliver Culver who left us on April 20, 2014 after leading a wonderful life for the past 92 years. Dad was life long resident of Terra Bella and Porterville and known to many people as generous, thoughtful, hard working, a fun loving person with quick wit, a quick smile and twinkling blue eyes.
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Earl was born in Fresno on Feb 09, 1922, the son of Elma and Bert Culver. His Swedish and Missouri roots combined to produce an honest hard working individual with a strong work ethic and a personality that drew people to him and resulted in many life long friendships.
Growing up during the depression years, Earl was familiar with making due and the value of hard work. Seen in class pictures at Terra Bella Elementary school, he was the one in bib overalls and no shoes and always with a big smile. Following early school years in Terra Bella, Earl went to high school at Porterville High School where he excelled at baseball and was the president of the Future Farmers of America.
Like so many others of his, the "greatest generation", he and friends decided to serve their country at the outbreak of WW II. After graduation from high school he started his great adventure by joining the US Navy and serving in the Naval Armed Guard as gunner aboard merchant marine ships protecting them from enemy threats. Earl served in all theaters from convoys on the North Atlantic to single ships crossing the Pacific, from the tip of South America to the furthest reaches of Alaska. He was on a ship returning to San Francisco from a voyage in the South Pacific when it was announced an atomic bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima, the end of war soon followed and he was discharged from duty November 1945.
Upon his return to Terra Bella he and his father decided to take up farming and eventually settled on raising turkeys on a ranch just south of the Porterville Airport. Earl continued doing this until his "early" retirement from the business at the age of 85. Ranching provided the opportunity to raise four children and expose them to the virtues of hard work, duct tape and bailing wire. Earl disposed of nothing until it could no longer be repaired and disposed of only meant it was thrown on the junk pile because "you never know when you might need it".
Earl was preceded by his wife of 54 years, Carolyn F. Culver who passed away on December 03, 2009. Earl was introduced to Carolyn by a mutual friend on a blind date. They later married in Modesto on August 6, 1955 and established their first and only home in Porterville California, raising four children along with hundreds of thousand other turkeys. Earl was an involved member of the American Legion and at the time of his passing was the oldest active member of the Terra Bell post, having been a member for over 68 years.
Earl is survived by his four children and their spouses and partners Kenneth and Aileen Culver, Glen Culver and his two children Tyler and Brandy, Diane Culver and Mike Brown her son Colton and Denise and Louie Thompson and their three children Aron, Tristyne and Kaitlyne. He is further survived by his sister Evelyn Brunswick of Reedley, her three children Roger, Richard and Kathy, his cousin Edna of the Bay Area who just turned 100 and is still going strong.
There will be a viewing from 3-5 PM on Sunday April 27th at Meyers Funeral Home. Graveside services will be held on Monday April 28th at 12:30 at Hillcrest Memorial Cemetery followed by a luncheon celebration at the Terra Bella Memorial Building. In lieu of flowers the family asks that people do something nice for a stranger to honor Earl and his memory.
Published in The Porterville Recorder on Apr. 26, 2014