Earl was born on March 14, 1928, in Sunnyside, WA the youngest of five children born to Walter and Grace Smith. When he was about eight years old the family moved to Southern California where Earl graduated from Bonita High School in LaVerne, CA in 1946 and later from Fresno State College in 1951. He was an outstanding athlete who lettered in numerous sports while in high school, and played varsity football and baseball while attending FSC. But his dream was always with baseball and he signed his first professional baseball contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in June of 1949. He was inducted into the California State University, Fresno, Baseball Hall of Fame in November of 1998. After retiring from baseball, Earl worked in the grocery business and had his own market for many years before retiring to the country to become an almond farmer. In September of 1947 he met Betty Wimer of Fresno and they were married September 24, 1949. Earl and Betty celebrated their 65th anniversary several days before his death on September 27, 2014. Earl and Betty had three children, Joanne (Michael Meyer), Richard (Gwen), and Lisa (Chris Mabe) who all survive him. He also leaves five grandsons; and three great-grandchildren; as well as a sister, Hazel Snell, of McPherson, KS. A Graveside Service in remembrance of Earl will be held at Fresno Memorial Gardens on Friday, October 3, 2014, at 10:00 a.m.
Published in Fresno Bee on Oct. 2, 2014.