Earnie was born on March 3, 1930, in Dalton, NH; he was the dear son of the late Amos J. and Esther A. (Fearon) Whitcomb. Earnie was raised and educated in Dalton and Whitefield and a graduate of Whitefield High School with the class of 1947. He was a proud member of the Whitefield Alumni Association.
Following graduation, Earnie enlisted in the United States Air Force and served honorably from 1947 until November of 1951 during the Korean War. Earnie’s duties were very important to the Air Force; he was trained as an Air Traffic Controller; a job that he learned very well and went on to make it his life-long career.
Earnie was always a hard worker, upon his discharge in November of 1951, he was self-employed in the construction field. While living in Texas and then returning to New Hampshire, he used his talents as a painter, paper hanger, and repaired stucco on houses. Earnie’s business flourished and kept him busy for several years until his opportunity to work as an Air Traffic Control Specialist arose in 1959.
Earnie was excited for this position and he eagerly went to work for the Federal Aviation Agency in March of 1959. Earnie was a natural, he not only worked in this field, he managed, instructed, and taught throughout his career that spanned for more than 25 years.
From March of 1959 until November of 1978, Earnie worked at the Boston Tower at Logan International Airport, as well Dayton RAPCON at Patterson Air Force Base in Fairborn, Ohio, and at the J.F.K. Tower in New York City. In in October of 1981 thru April of 1982 he went to work as a Contract Instructor/Air Traffic Control for the University of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. In April of 1982, Earnie returned to Massachusetts and took a position as an Air Traffic Control Instructor at Logan Airport in Boston until he retired from instructing in April of 1983.
Earnie saw many changes in the FAA and the Air traffic control throughout the years and he always kept up on the latest in technology. As a Contract Instructor at the Boston Facility he was involved in advanced radar simulation whereas at the University level he was involved in a more basic manual training. Earnie also conducted resident technical training courses for air traffic facility personnel in both academic and laboratory environments, he planned lessons, conducted laboratory exercises and demonstrations, administered tests, and supplied written evaluations for each student. Earnie also prepared staff studies and reports as necessary.
Earnie was an integral part of his job while developing and conducting facility training programs and keeping abreast of aviation related technology and its changes throughout the years. He was also responsible for teaching Air Traffic Control Specialist from training stages to those who were fully experienced. Earnie regularly performed radar controller duties for all radar and coordinator positions and was responsible for the safe, orderly and expeditious flow of air traffic. Earnie was very knowledgeable in the assurance of proper alignment, usability and satisfactory service of operating radar and communications equipment as well as the alphanumeric systems. Earnie provided aircraft advisory service and assistance to lost aircraft or to aircraft experiencing other inflight difficulties; he always handled himself in a calm and reassuring manner which made him quite an asset to his position.
In his spare time, Earnie loved to spend time with his family and friends traveling in New Hampshire; he enjoyed the mountains, lakes, woods, and his family camp in Dalton. Earnie was one with nature and spent lots of time four-wheeling throughout the woods and mountains taking in the scenery.
Earnie married his “sweetheart” Mary King whom he met while he worked as a Department Manager at Mahoney’s Rocky Ledge Farm and Nursery in Winchester. The couple settled in Wilmington in 1981 where they made a nice home for their family and friends. Earnie loved spending time with his family, he was a devoted husband, dad, and grandfather; there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do to help out his family, extended family and friends.
Earnie will be fondly remembered for his love of country music, old western television shows and western movies, and his enjoyment of dessert of any kind. Earnie lived quite a life, experienced much, and loved unconditionally. He will be greatly missed.
Earnie was the beloved husband of Mary A. (King) Whitcomb, devoted father of Vicki Jenkins & her husband Ronald of Centerville, TN, Vanessa Armstrong & her husband John of Medford, MA, and Kimberly Maldonado of Florida. Loving Grandfather of Renea, Amanda, Suzanne, Terri, Heather, Jennifer, Stephanie, the late Jason Jenkins and several great-grandchildren. Dear son of the late Amos J. and Esther A. (Fearon) Whitcomb, brother of James Whitcomb of California, Ed Whitcomb of Illinois, Frank Whitcomb of Connecticut, Martha Porfido of New Hampshire, the late Amos J. Whitcomb and Mary Jane Sheridan. Earnie is also survived by several brothers and sisters-in-law and many nieces and nephews.
Family and friends will gather at the Nichols Funeral Home, 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington, for a Funeral Service with Military Honors on Wednesday, February 17th at 11:00 a.m. Visiting hours will be held at the Funeral Home on Tuesday, February 16th from 4:00-8:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers donations in Earnest’s memory may be made to VNA Hospice Care, 100 Trade Center, Suite G-500, Woburn, MA 01801.