Born on September 6, 1921 in St. Louis to railroad fireman Earl Guy and homemaker Katherine (nee Erb) Conklin, Earl Junior Conklin was a child of the depression. This fact strongly influenced his life and fueled a continuous appreciation for what he had.
Sports, especially baseball, gave focus to his growing up years. At the University of Missouri he played third base on the Big Six Conference championship team and led the league in hitting. Earl was scouted by both the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees, however, World War II intervened. He volunteered for the Marine Corps in March, 1942. Following boot camp and officer training he served as a 1st Lieutenant in the South Pacific theatre. He was wounded on Okinawa, returned to service there and later received a purple heart. His final station was guarding a railway in China.
Following the war, Earl completed his business degree at the University of Missouri (Mizzou). At the time, he owned 2 pairs of khakis which he wore with athletic department T-shirts. He supported himself working in an icehouse, spotting football games and refereeing basketball games.
After graduation, Earl played a few years of semi-pro baseball with the Danville Dodgers, Brooklyn’s farm team before concluding that he was too old to pursue this career.
Earl met Boots Vaughan in 1947 through a blind date arranged by his and her parents during a pinochle game. Reluctant to go, Earl took a baseball friend along. It was literally love at first sight. They had thirty dates in thirty days. On date two they agreed to marry, but waited six months to do so on May 8, 1948. Earl and Boots were married for 65 years before her passing. Both would identify their marriage as the best decision of their life. Mutual respect and never going to bed mad were the keys to their success.
Unemployed at the time of his wedding, Earl ironed Boots’ nursing uniforms and looked for sales work. One of the early products he sold was typewriters. Within a few years, he broke into the insurance business. In 1953, with two children in tow, he transferred to Cincinnati. Earl went on to build a career as an insurance agent specializing in bonding. He retired, still loving his work, in 1994, at age 72.
Earl’s pleasures were simple. He loved traveling with Boots and friends, playing tennis and golf, sitting on the back porch drinking iced tea (with lots of ice) and listening to Glen Miller and Ella Fitzgerald, practicing his golf swing, and chatting with friends. He was proud to serve many years on the Oak Hills High School Alumni and Education Foundation board.
Earl’s values were clear and unfaltering: God, Family and Country. These drove his every action. In recent years, he often said “I’ll go when the good Lord wants me.” The Lord called him at 4:32pm on Friday, January 29, 2021.
Conklin, Earl J. Beloved husband of the late Jeannette A. "Boots" Conklin (nee Vaughan). Loving father of Terrence (Karen) Conklin, Kim (Damir Janigro) Conklin and the late Scott Conklin. Devoted grandpa of Jessica (Justin) Kahny, Andrew, Nathan, Timothy, Jeffrey (Brittany), David (Rachel) and Gregory (Ellen) Conklin, Mattia and Alice Janigro. Great grandpa of (11). Great-Great grandpa of (2). Brother of the late Clifford Conklin. Also survived by many loving nieces, nephews and friends. Longtime member of Westwood United Methodist Church and the Western Hills Country Club. Burial services will be private. A public memorial service and reception will be scheduled at a later date. Donations may be made to Oak Hills Alumni and Education Foundation 6325 Rapid Run Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45233, Alzheimer’s Association, 644 Linn St, Cincinnati, OH 45203 or to Spina Bifida Coalition of Cincinnati, 644 Lynn St., Suite 635, Cincinnati, OH 45203.