Olen Lee Earnest, LTC US Army (Ret) was born August 4th, 1938 in Bonifay Florida. He was the son of David M. Earnest and Beulah Earnest. He grew up in Avon Park, Florida, graduating from high school in 1956. He passed away on Sunday, November 5, 2017 at his residence in Dothan, AL.
After enlisting in the US Army, he received a Regular Army appointment to the US Military Academy at West Point. Lee graduated from West Point in 1963 and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Regular Army.
Following basic training, Ranger School, and Parachute training, Lee reported for duty with the 82nd Airborne Division at Ft. Bragg, NC. After a tour of duty in the Airborne, Lee was sent to Ft. Rucker, AL for flight training in fixed wing aircraft. This was followed by a tour in Vietnam and then back to Ft. Rucker as a flight instructor. This was followed by another tour in Vietnam as a staff officer and company commander.
Lee earned a Master’s Degree from Georgia Tech and spent the next few years teaching at West Point. After attending the Command and General Staff College, he was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division at Ft. Carson, CO. He finished his career in the Inspector General’s office at DARCOM Headquarters in Washington, DC.
During his career in the Army, he was awarded the Legion of Merit, 4 Bronze Stars, 16 Air Medals, 2 Army Commendations and several other service awards. He was also awarded the Parachute Badge, the Ranger Tab, and Senior Army Aviator Badge.
After the Army, Lee was employed by Merrill Lynch in Dothan, AL. He was a Certified Financial Planner and specialized in developing financial planning and execution for a wide variety of clients. He was an active member of the Dothan Country Club. He was a member of the Fish Golf Group and the Rebel Golf Group. He made many trips to Scotland and Ireland to play golf.
After retirement, Lee enjoyed playing golf, and spending time with family and friends at Mexico Beach, FL.
He is survived by his brother, Ben (Kiyu), Ooltewah, TN. He has two sons, Ben (Laurie) Earnest of Dothan, AL and Mike (Shannon) Earnest of Acworth, GA and a step-daughter Natalie (Jason) Gowen of Dothan, AL. Lee has 6 grandchildren: Baylee, Audrey, Mason, and Addison Earnest, Mary Kate and Jackson Gowen.
Services will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 11, 2017 at the Sunset Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Kyle Gatlin officiating. Military Honors will follow in Sunset Memorial Park with Robert Byrd directing. The family will receive friends from 2-3:00 p.m. prior to the service at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society or to the American Lung Association.