Alfred Earl Futch, Sr.
September 17, 1926 – August 21, 2023
Memorial services for Alfred Earl Futch, Sr., 96, are at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, September 2, 2023, at the First Baptist Church, Cairo, GA. Rev. Chris Allen will officiate. Military honors will be presented. The family will receive friends in the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church on Saturday, September 2, 2023, from 9:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.
A graveside memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m., Friday, September 29, 2023, in the Jacksonville National Cemetery, Jacksonville, FL. The cemetery is located at 4083 Lannie Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32218.
Alfred Earl Futch, Sr., passed away in Cairo, Georgia on August 21, 2023. He and his twin brother, Ernest Darl, were born on September 17, 1926, at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, to Tonnie Dewitt and Rena Silcox Futch. During the late 1800’s, Earl’s paternal grandparents were cotton farmers in Eastman, Georgia. His mother’s family were dairy farmers in North Florida.
Earl was raised in a Christian home, where his dad was deacon and his mom served in the children’s department each week at Murray Hill Baptist Church. Earl attended area schools: Lackawanna Elementary, John Gorrie Middle School, and Robert E. Lee High School. As a child, Earl grew up caring for the animals on the Silcox family dairy farm. He developed entrepreneurial skills at an early age. Before school each morning, Earl delivered bottles of fresh milk and eggs to his customers. After school and on weekends, Earl worked in the produce department of his father’s A & P Tea Company Store. Early on, Earl was able to fix and repair anything. He had the ability to diagnose, and fabricate parts to repair cars, machines, and household appliances. When something broke, you could depend on Earl to find a way to fix it!
While in the Boy Scouts, Dr. Bremer, one of his scout leaders, taught Earl to fly a seaplane. As a teenager, Earl liked volunteering and helped build churches, homes, and rebuild car engines. Both of Earl’s parents came from exceptionally large families with uncles and aunts to dote on him and help him learn about life in and around Jacksonville. Earl was known as the ‘Entertainer,’ with stories that grew larger than life each time he told them. Nothing pleased him more than having a house full of family and friends during the holidays.
Earl was a very patriotic man and loved his country. From 1944-1946, during World War II, Earl served in the United States Navy. His last assignment was under Admiral Chester Nimitz in the South Pacific on Guam. After his time in the service, Earl returned to Jacksonville to continue his education. Shortly thereafter, he and Martha West rekindled their friendship and were married in 1948. Martha and Earl were the last couple to be married in the chapel of Murray Hill Baptist Church and served as charter members there. Earl swears he and Martha have been going together since birth! They were part of the original launch team for Highlands Baptist Church, where Earl was the Chair of the Deacons.
Earl graduated from the University of Florida with his degree in Agricultural Engineering. Upon graduation Earl worked with Gulf Oil Company in Central Florida. Throughout his life, Earl stayed attached to agriculture. He started an orange grove in Avon Park. Returning to Jacksonville, Earl partnered with his dad to run TD Futch and Sons Meat Market in 5 Points on Riverside. Earl delivered beef to local restaurants each week. On family property in Cairo, Earl and Martha raised wheat, corn, and watermelons. As his family grew, Earl pivoted and started AlMar Trucking Company. His team hauled new cars from the port to car dealerships all over the USA.
Martha and Earl decided to retire and live in Cairo. Once again Earl’s vast array of skills benefited them as he built their home on land inherited from the West Family. Later, they began AlMar Nursery and propagated crepe myrtles, roses, and hibiscus plants, while maintaining a home vegetable garden each year.
Throughout his life, Earl was active in church as a Deacon, choir member and Sunday school teacher. Earl and Martha were faithful members and supporters of First Baptist Church of Cairo. He served as a Boy Scout Leader, organized fish fries for the Kiwanis Club, rebuilt bicycles for kids at Christmas, and helped repair homes in Grady County.
Earl grew up singing in church and school choirs. He played the trumpet. He was an avid angler and enjoyed sports as a young man, especially football. Many summer days were spent with family at Lake Grandin. Earl loved the water and taught his children and many youngsters to swim, canoe, ski, and fish. He spent countless hours pulling members of his boy troop around the lake so they could earn merit badges. Earl led many scout campouts and trips throughout the years. Earl liked to travel and explore new places. Family trips to the mountains, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, and camping were amazing adventures with five children in tow.
In the fall, when the children, grands, and great grands visited the farm, evenings were spent singing around the nightly bonfires where family stories and corny jokes were shared. S’mores and endless games of UNO capped off the nights. Family was important to Earl.
The annual Thanksgiving Celebrations with family and friends at the farm in Cairo were always fun. Recently Earl shared he wanted to invite friends for pumpkin pie this November when we all will gather again! Friends were important to Earl.
Earl, along with his life partner, Martha, dealt with many challenges and obstacles in their 73+ years of marriage. They never thought they would outlive any of their children. However, that happened when cancer took their special needs son, Paul. Earl and Martha were not perfect but were great examples to their children and friends. Earl loved and served Jesus. He was a man proud of his children and thankful for how they cared for Martha and him. Earl’s best qualities will live on. Even though in his later years, dementia crept in, he will be remembered for the good attributes and his willingness to love and help others in need. Earl knew his children were rewards from the Lord. His quiver was full. Psalm 127:3-5
Earl was an outstanding husband, provider, dad, and an entertainer at heart. Martha and Earl are parents to five children, five grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Predeceased by his brother, Ernest Darl, parents Tonnie and Rena Futch, of Jacksonville, Florida, his son, Paul West Futch, and son-in-law, Robert Keener. He is survived by his children, Virginia Futch Hansen (Steve, and son, Steven), Earl Futch, Jr., Mary Futch Daunhauer (Chris), and David Andrew Futch (Liz and children, Stephanie, Savannah, (Brian, and children, Thomas, and Lylah), Hannah (Jacob#2 and son, Jed), and Jacob #1).
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Cuba 4 Christ, Inc., 9863 Old Plank Road, Jacksonville, Florida 32220. www.cuba4christ.org