Earnest Charles Huckelbury of Edmond, Oklahoma, died peacefully surrounded by family on February 1, 2017, at Mercy Hospital, Oklahoma City, after a valiant battle with cancer. He was 79.
Earnie was born November 17, 1937, in Fort Smith, Arkansas, to Earnest Charles Huckelbury, Sr., and Vinita (Albright) Huckelbury. He attended the University of Arkansas, where he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering in 1960. He served in the United States Air Force from 1960 to 1964, and continued to serve his country for 38 years as a civilian, leading the division that oversaw software for the Cruise missile program at Tinker Air Force Base. A lifelong learner, he acquired a law degree from Oklahoma City University, a tax preparation certificate, and a real estate license, which he put to good use in retirement.
Earnie married his soulmate, Ellen Arnold, on January 14, 1977, on St. Simon’s Island, Georgia. He brought his Georgia peach to Norman, where they became diehard Sooner fans (a hard sell for a Razorback). While he was proud of the work he did at Tinker, Earnie’s true commitment was to his role of husband and father. The complete devotion he and Ellen shared, along with their strong faith in God, set the tone and example for the whole family. He was proud of his children and bragged about them to anyone who would listen, but that pride was nothing compared to the buttons he burst when the grandkids came along. His outer sweetness hid a fiercely competitive inner core – no one wanted to sit next to him at the dominoes table.
Earnie is survived by his wife of 40 years, Ellen Huckelbury; his children, Robin (Jon) Laasch of Edmond; Honey (Daniel) Bedell of Davenport, Iowa; Lisa (Brian) Sandlin of Harrah, Oklahoma; and Brett (Piper) Huckelbury of McKinney, Texas; grandchildren Michael (Allison) Laasch, Lindsey Laasch, Justin Sandlin, Madelyn Sandlin, Abby Huckelbury, Connor Bedell and Ian Bedell. He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Robert Craig and Jerry Huckelbury.
Arrangements are under the direction of Matthews Funeral Home of Edmond. Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, February 5, 2017, at the funeral home and family will be present from 2 to 4 p.m. A celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, February 6, 2017, at Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, with a graveside service to follow at Gracelawn Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society or the Fairview Baptist Church Building Fund. The family would like to thank Dr. Craig Reitz, the Mercy Hospital Oncology nurses and therapists, and Kristin Adams and the Mercy Palliative Care staff for their excellent and compassionate care, and their Fairview Baptist Church family for constant prayers and enduring kindness.