Earl C. Gilmore, Jr., age 85, passed away on April 29, 2016. A funeral service will be held at Memorial Funeral Chapel in College Station on Wednesday, May 4, at 10:30 a.m., with visitation from 9 a.m. to start of service. Interment will be in Oakwood Cemetery, Waco, that afternoon at 3 p.m.
Earl C. Gilmore, Jr. was born Sept. 7, 1930, to Earl and Zolena (Overton) Gilmore. Both sets of his grandparents were early settlers of Whitney, Texas, where he was born.
Earl graduated in 1947 from Georgetown High School and attended Tarleton State University before graduating from Texas A&M in January 1952 with a degree in agricultural education. He reported for duty in the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps in March and went to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, then to Korea, where he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.
After returning from Korea, he married Margaret Breland. They moved to DeLeon, Texas, where he worked for the USDA as a soil conservationist. He later returned to Texas A&M and in 1957 earned an M.S. in Agronomy. He was employed in the agronomy department and in the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station as a grain sorghum breeder. Later, while working for the USDA in Denton, his research focused on improving wheat varieties. He was transferred to St. Paul, Minn. and worked as a wheat breeder while also working on a Ph.D. in Plant Genetics from the University of Minnesota.
After receiving his degree, he was employed as a wheat breeder for DeKalb Seed Company in Wichita, Kansas. When an opportunity came to return to A&M in 1966, he began work there in the Soil and Crop Sciences Department and the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station as a wheat and flax breeder and later also as state project leader for small grains research and improvement.
He finished his career at the Texas A&M Research and Extension Center, Vernon, first as a wheat breeder and later as the Resident Director for 13 years. He retired in 1992 after 29 years with the Texas A&M System, most of that time in small grains research.
Wherever Earl and Margaret lived, Earl served their church in many roles–deacon, Sunday school teacher, ESL teacher–and on various committees. He also served on the Christian Life Commission for Texas Baptists and on a committee for the Baptist Student Ministry at A&M. He served his community through the United Way, Boy Scouts, and Rotary Club.
After retiring, he and Margaret moved to Waco, the area in which both had grown up. He spent many happy hours working in a small wheat-breeding program that he started. He also enjoyed fishing at nearby Lake Whitney and Lake Waco and living closer to family in Houston. In 2002, he and Margaret moved to Bryan to shorten the distance to family members. They later moved to the Houston area in 2012 because of health problems.
Earl is survived by three children, Larry and John Gilmore and Shelley Taylor; nine grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; his sister, Rita Fitzgibbon; and one niece. He was preceded in death by his parents and one nephew.
Memorials may be made to the Building Fund at First Baptist Church of Bryan, to the Baptist Student Ministry at Texas A&M, or to the charity of one’s choice.