Obituary of Charles Edward Early III
Charles Edward Early III was a true Labor Day baby. Chuck was born in Sarasota Memorial Hospital on Monday, September 3, 1956. After a brief but courageous battle with Hereditary Hemochromatosis, Chuck died suddenly on Wednesday, February 8, 2023 in Manatee Memorial Hospital. Full of life until the end…Chuck was 66 years young.
Family time was memorable growing up in Sarasota. His parents did not own a television set, until Chuck was a senior in high school. He would catch Bonanza on Sunday nights at his grandparents’ house, the Gator games at friends’ houses or on the radio and other televised events that were important to him where he could. Reading and music were encouraged from an early age. Although there was no tv, there was a state-of-the-art sound system throughout the home. Saturday mornings often involved being awakened with anything from a Military marching band to Beethoven’s 9th playing at full blast!
Chuck attended Southside Elementary, Brookside Middle and Riverview High School (Class of 1974) and received his BA in Economics from Virginia Military Institute (Class of 1978). He formed many lifelong friendships attending these various institutions. Chuck played for the Sarasota Ringling Redskins, swam competitively for The Field Club and at VMI and played tennis for many years right behind his parents’ home.
Chuck was banging a drum when he was two years old and began his formal training at the age of 11. Chuck played in everything from garage bands to symphony orchestras and in styles ranging from blues and rock to swing and classical. At age 14, he was in his first garage band and was also invited to join the Florida West Coast Youth Orchestra, under the direction of Paul Wolfe. The following year he joined the West Coast Symphony where he performed under such greats as Leonard Bernstein, Meredith Wilson and Arthur Fiedler. He played for both the Riverview High School Kiltie Band and was a member of the Pipes and Drum section of Band Company (one of ten companies comprising the Corps of Cadets). Founded in 1839, VMI is the nation’s first state-supported military college. A tradition since 1947, The Regimental Band provides pride and excellence as part of the cadet experience. The VMI Drummers participate in guard and company functions, perform each day to march the Corps to chow hall, formations, halftime shows and other events. In college, Chuck found time to play in rock cover bands and a swinging big band.
After graduating from VMI, Chuck began a 27 year run with the Appraisal Institute achieving his MAI designation in 1988. He was a commercial property appraiser working throughout the state of Florida. He worked for three premier Florida companies and two nationally recognized firms. He returned to Sarasota in 1995 and opened The Early Company in 2001. One of his specialties was appraising golf courses. Prior to 2006, he provided valuation and evaluation services for financial institutions, developers, investors and the legal community. His reports were known for their thoroughness and accuracy and he was often called on to testify as an expert witness. When the appraisal industry dramatically changed, Chuck left it behind to pursue his true passions…music and hunting. For the rest of his life, Chuck would enjoy being part of a band. In south Florida, he performed at many fun and interesting venues such as the Ft. Lauderdale Blues Festival, Musician’s Exchange and Stiltsville in Biscayne Bay, before Hurricane Andrew virtually wiped it out. He continued to revel in the music scene back on the Suncoast. Never one to say he knew it all and always wanting to learn a different beat, he took drum lessons the last ten years of his life. He thoroughly enjoyed the lessons given by his extremely talented and challenging drum teacher.
Chuck equally enjoyed the outdoors and through nature felt closest to God. His love of hunting began at an Early age under his father’s (VMI Class of 1947 and WWII Iwo Jima Survivor) tutelage with lessons and strict adherence to gun safety and the many rules involved with being a responsible gun owner and hunter. He explored various local properties that used to be the back woods of his hometown. The vast majority of those properties are now fully developed. In later years, he took numerous trips with his father and friends that were exciting and memorable. He researched each and every excursion to the nth degree and was prepared in every way including using topographical maps and later gps/satellite coverage and carrying all of the necessary equipment. Chuck wrote an article that was published in Georgia Outdoor News. With his passion for researching his next trip and amazing communications skills he enjoyed reaching out to friends and well known hunters including the likes of Guy Eastman and Steve Rinella. In Chuck’s last months, Phil Duckworth shared a video and prayers for him. He particularly enjoyed collecting amazing recipes and had an extensive collection of wild game cookbooks. Preparation, however, was more often a combined effort. Joined at the hip since 1979, Chuck shared with MA his discriminating palate while in the kitchen. Chuck was a treasure; so astute, thoughtful, curious, insightful, creative, humorous, nobody’s fool and stubborn! He was a man of integrity, honor and courage. He always had something interesting to say.
Predeceased by his parents, Charles and Bonnie Early, grandparents, John and Mable Early, Thomas and Beniti Thomas and Jubal. Survived by his wife of 38 years, Mary Anne Miller Early, his sister, Mary (Jeffrey) Swain, nieces, nephews, cousins and many other extended family members and an abundance of good friends. Thank you to ALL who have reached out and to the many caring health providers at Manatee Memorial Hospital. On this Memorial Day Weekend, a very special thank you to all of the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. We don’t know them all but we owe them all.
For anyone who would like to honor Chuck’s memory, please consider the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast. P.O. Box 902 Osprey, Florida 34229 conservationfoundation.com/donate
“And the hunter home from the hill.” -Robert Louis Stephenson
His Lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. -Matthew 25:23 KJV
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