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EARL DENSON GAUTIER
Earl Denson Gautier age 90, passed away peacefully on January 2, 2024 at his home in Pascagoula, Ms. with his loving, and devoted wife Frances by his side. Earl, the son of Newton Houston Gautier and May Omega Golden Gautier was born October 5, 1933 at his parent’s west river home in Gautier, MS.
Earl was preceded in death by his parents, four sisters, Laura Katherine Loper, Eleanor Glenn McGrath, Mayo Fairfax (Mayfax) Barlow, and Dorothy Velma (Tunny) Gautier, and one brother, Newton Perry Gautier. He was also preceded in death by his sister-in-law Dixie Ann Gautier, and brothers-in-law Richard Brown, James Edward McGrath and O. B. Loper, Jr.
Earl is survived by his wife of 68 years, Frances Elmira Miles Gautier, sister, Ruby Marie Gautier Brown, brothers-in-law, Robert Louis Barlow, James Edward (Adell) Miles, and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, cousins and numerous friends whom he loved and who loved him.
Earl was one of the nine members of the first graduation class of the Gautier Grammar School in May 28, 1948. While at Gautier Grammar School he received The American Legion Certificate of School Award which they proclaimed was a Certificate of Distinguished Achievement. He also graduated from Pascagoula High School with Distinction in 1952. At PHS, he enjoyed playing varsity basketball for three years. In 1954 he graduated with Honors from Perkinston Junior College (now Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College). At “Perk” he was President of his graduating class and a PHI THETA- KAPPA, Honorary Fraternity Officer. He then continued his studies at Mississippi State University and The University of Southern Mississippi.
In 1953, Earl met the love of his life, Frances Elmira Miles, the daughter of Rufus Leander Miles and Emma Grace Nehrig Miles of Moss Point, MS. Earl and Frances were married on September 2, 1955 at the Dantzler Memorial United Methodist Church in Moss Point, MS.
Earl was proud to have served his country as a Staff Sergeant in the U S Army.
During his tour of duty in Europe, Earl served with the 3rd Armored Division, Ayers Kaserne, Kirch Goens, Germany. He and Frances resided in Bad Nauheim, Germany, which provided them an opportunity to travel extensively throughout Europe. In 1958, at the 3rd Armored Division Headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, The Commanding General awarded Earl a Certificate of Merit for outstanding service and for him attaining a position of leadership normally only held by a soldier of considerably more rank and experience. After returning to the USA, Earl completed his military service in the U.S. Army Reserves and received an honorable discharge.
While attending college, he was fortunate to have been employed by Ingalls Shipbuilding for four summers. Earl was proud to have been a small part of the designing and building of some of America's greatest surface ships and submarines.
He was one of the founding members of the Ingalls Management Association, and a member of the American Society of Naval Engineers. Ingalls Shipbuilding was a way of life for Earl during his entire working career. After almost 39 years of service, Earl retired from Ingalls Shipbuilding April 1, 1994 as Director of Engineering Planning.
After retiring from Ingalls, he served on the Board of Trustees at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College for five years.
Earl loved Mississippi State, Perk and PHS Class of 1952, NASCAR and automobiles of any kind but especially antiques cars. For over fifty years he collected, restored, and exhibited antique automobiles, classic automobiles, and sport cars. He was known throughout the south for his collection of award-winning automobiles. He was a longtime member of the Antique Automobile Club of America, as well as other national, regional, state and local automobile associations. His most memorable race was when he and Frances attended an international race at Nuremberg Ring, in Nuremberg, Germany. His knowledge of automobiles prompted people to call him to ask his opinion when they were planning to buy a car. Most times Earl would not have to research the automobile, he could just tell them right off the top of his head any information they needed. He could look at an automobile coming down the road, in a picture or on television and tell you the make, the model and the year. He built a five-car garage in their back yard and at one time owned five antiques and their two drive cars and he kept all seven in perfect condition. When he entered them in competition, each of the antiques would receive ‘Best of Show’ and if he entered more than one in an antique car show, it would be very hard for the judges to decide which one should win the honor. When Earl became ill, he sold his antique cars but continued to collect memorabilia including old tools, bicycles, scooters, outboard motors, as well as Mississippi State and NASCAR. He also liked to buy antique furniture and restore them. He loved his "collection’' of paint brushes. Someone told him his garage was like a museum. Early in life Earl become a NASCAR Race fan, touring the NASCAR Southern Circuit for many years. He claimed Talladega, Alabama his home track.
He was there for the inaugural race of the Talladega 500 on September 14, 1969
and then witnessed the running of every race for the next 30 years. Dale Earnhardt, Sr. was Earl's favorite race car driver. Earl and Frances were at the Daytona International Speedway the day when Earnhardt won the Daytona 500 race on February 15, 1998. I think Earl was as happy as Dale Earnhardt was that he had finally won a Daytona 500 race. Earl was devastated when Earnhardt was killed instantly February 18, 2001 in a final lap collision in the 2001 Daytona 500 race.
Earl loved his family and friends and had wonderful memories of growing up on the beach in Gautier. His Daddy said ‘'It was a life of heaven on earth’'. The children spent the mornings fishing, crabbing, shrimping, swimming, and playing games. There was usually a cool breeze on the front porch and at night the family gathered there sitting in the rocking chairs and talked about the family and old times. There was no air condition back then. The children would all try to get to the porch first so they could claim the cot that was on the porch for many years.
No better place to just lie down and take a nap. Earl said no one could cook like his Mama and he always said she made the best fried chicken and eggplant fritters on the gulf coast. Seafood prepared by her was as good as it gets. His Daddy was known throughout Jackson County as an avid fisherman and hunter. Mr. Newt readily supplied his family and friends with the catch of the day and when he went hunting, he supplied them with many different types of game. Of course, his Mama cooked anything he brought home and it would be a feast.
Earl was third from the youngest of seven children; five girls and two boys, and Frances was also the third from the youngest of seven children; and there were five boys and two girls. They were not born on the same day, but they were both born at 4:00 o'clock in the morning. What a coincidence!!!!
Earl and Frances moved into their home in Pascagoula in 1961 and have lived there ever since. He said a few years ago if they decided to stay, he was going to put a mail box in front of their house. Even though he had lived in Pascagoula that long he was still in love with the City of Gautier and hated it when someone pronounced it incorrectly. He said there was only one way to pronounce Gautier and that is the name he put on his personalized car tags -- GO Cha.
Yes, Earl built a five-car garage and a large double driveway in the back yard.
When he put in a swimming pool people would kid him saying if he paved the two side yards, he really wouldn't have much yard left to mow. Of course, he loved working in the yard. The reason he put in the pool was so he wouldn't have to take Frances to the beach at Gulf Shores and she told him she would rather go swimming in their pool anytime.
Frances knew there was not much Earl couldn't do but she really found out just how much he did around the house when he became ill. She had to take care of things she had never done before. Earl was a "Jack of all trades’'. One thing Frances learned she shouldn't do was try to paint anything. When they were living in Gautier and before Earl went into the Army, Earl went to work on a Saturday and was anxious to get their small boat "The Ace’' ready to use the next week-end. Frances was off from work and home that day so Earl asked her to paint the boat while he was gone. He mixed the paint and gave her the brush. She did paint the boat and was so proud when he got home. But she soon found out that she had not done a very good job after all. Earl couldn't believe the paint can was empty and asked Frances where the paint was. She told him proudly 'it is on the boat!' She had just kept painting until she used it all up. You can only imagine how long it took Earl to scrape all the paint off and start all over.
Earl was known to keep everything clean and someone once accused him of polishing the stop sign on the corner of Ryder Avenue and MacPhelah Road.
One day Earl was working in the front yard and a good friend stopped his car in the driveway and got out with his little granddaughter. He and Earl talked for a while and then the little girl looked up at her granddaddy and said, ‘'PaPa' is he really Mr.
Clean?’’ Earl said he didn't know which one of them laughed the most.
Earl kept his yard mowed and edged and had beautiful flowers blooming most of the year unless it was really cold weather. He was awarded "Yard of the Month' many times by the local garden club.
Earl believed in God. He said his prayers and read the Bible from start to finish many times. During Earl's illness, Frances was going through some files in his desk and found several notes he had written for his obituary. The following is one of his handwritten notes: Earl had a full and eventful life. His most cherished memories were the love and life he shared with his wife, Frances, his parents, his brother and sisters and their families'.
For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, Nor angels, nor rulers,
Nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing Will have the power to separate us
From the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!
Therefore: Scripture assures us that nothing can Separate us from the love of God, not Even a dementia that may strip a Person of his awareness of God’s presence.
I know that Earl is with God in heaven and that is why I can accept Earl's death,
Yes, with sadness but with the joy of Knowing he has the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!
Frances wishes to thank her sister-in-law Ruby Brown and her brother and sister-in-law Jimmy and Adell Miles for their loving concern and assistance during Earl's illness. Frances and Earl were not blessed with children of their own but they always felt they did have many children because of the special relationship they had with their nieces and nephews. Frances wishes to thank all of them for their love and concern during Earl's illness and during this time of sadness. And also, a special thank you to their many good friends who have shown their love and support. She also wishes to thank Rev. David Huffman, Dantzler Memorial UMC; Chaplin Branden Rogers and the staff, nurses and aides at Hospice of Life; and the staff and caregivers of Team Holton Homecare, LLC and All Ways Caring Homecare for their loving care of Earl during his illness.
Visitation for Earl will be held from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm on Sunday, January 7, 2024 at O’Bryant – O’Keefe Funeral Home, Pascagoula, MS with the funeral service to follow at 2:00 pm in the funeral home chapel. Interment will be held at the Gautier Cemetery in Gautier, MS.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in memory of Earl to Dantzler Memorial UMC, P. O. Box 8704, Moss Point, MS 39562
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