Earl Woodard Giddings, 84, transitioned from this life on April 24, 2019, at 3 p.m. in Las Vegas, Nev., with his close family and friends by his side.
He moved to Las Vegas in October 2017 to be near his daughter and family in Las Vegas while dealing with health issues related to congested heart failure and renal failure (Earl was on dialysis the last year of his life).
Earl loved his family, his friends and his community. He was a well-loved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin and friend.
His journey started June 30, 1934, in Chicago, when he was born to John Woodard Giddings and Zelma Giddings (nee Castleman). His family moved from Chicago to Pembroke in 1946 and he spent most of his life in the Pembroke and Kankakee area. He graduated from St. Anne High School in 1952 and married Melba Uvonne Lynch in October 1955 and had two children, Earlena Giddings Hill, of Las Vegas, Nev., and Melban Juel Giddings, deceased shortly after birth.
Earl was also preceded in death by his mother and father; three wives; his great-grandson, Daanhr Notti Pugh; three brothers, John Hurley Giddings, Waymer Giddings and Herbert Giddings; two sisters, Sandra Ellison and Laura Jean Giddings; his brother-in-law, Edward Pickens; and his niece and nephew respectively, Cheryl and John Pickens.
Called to duty, Earl served in the U.S. Army from October 1957 until October 1959. He was stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, and served as a lineman in Germany.
After his return from the service, Earl worked for the Chicago Transit Authority, Gould Battery, Agar Meat Packing (served as a union representative) and eventually worked for Henkel Corporation as a chemical operator for 25 years, where he eventually retired in 1999. Earl spent most his retirement traveling all over the U.S. and to places like Acapulco and Cancun, Mexico, Honduras and Hawaii and taking cruises to places like the Caribbean islands and to Alaska.
Earl was always ready to serve and lend a helping hand to his family and friends. He was going to rumble about it but you were going to get the best help you could get and maybe a little advice that you hadn’t heard or thought about before. He was always so prepared and organized, so he had plenty of advice to give about being prepared for things that happen in life and about planning and preparing for what you want in life. And, of course, he never gave advice that he was not willing to follow himself.
Surviving are his daughter, Earlena Giddings Hill, of Las Vegas, Nev.; son-in-law, Terry Hill, of Las Vegas, Nev.; son, Earl Stephen (Angela) Gully, of Chicago; four grandchildren, Salaah Swan (Pamela), of Los Angeles, Calif., Tyler Ashton Hill and Jessica Ashley Hill, of Las Vegas, Nev., and Arianna Gully, of Chicago; three sisters, Mary Lou Gilbert, of Kankakee, Rosetta Cunningham, of Atlanta, Ga., and Lorraine (Edward) Bowman, of Flossmoor; one brother, George (Janice) Giddings, of Kankakee; three sisters-in-law, Ruby and Bernie, of University Park, and Deborah Giddings, of Minneapolis, Minn.; three aunts, Earlena Practher and Ann and Alene Giddens, of Chicago; and a host of family and friends in the Kankakee area and also in Las Vegas, Chicago, Atlanta and Tennessee.
His biggest circle of friends was his Henkel family that included Jessie (Delores) Martin, Charles (Audrey) Anderson, Steve Clark, Bernadine Holland and many more. He loved his community and was an active community member. He was very involved in his local MaryCrest Neighborhood Association, the national and local Democratic Party and with the Kankakee County Election Department.
Earl loved the Lord. His memorial service will be at 3 p.m. PST and 5 p.m. CST on Friday, May 10, in Las Vegas, Nev., at the Giddens Memorial Chapel in Las Vegas. The service will be officiated by his cousin, the Rev. Raymond Giddens Sr., of Las Vegas, Nev. Earl’s remains will stay close to his family in Las Vegas, Nev.