OCTOBER 12, 1932 – DECEMBER 18, 2023
Earl Francis Mouton was a true adventurer, touring all parts of the globe, riding motorcycles, camping rough terrain and foreign lands, climbing mountains, and flying planes. He raised a large family and worked many longtime careers as a photographer, career U.S. Navy officer, geologist and farmer. He lived a long and lively life, never one to give up a challenge until he died December 18, 2023, at the age of 91.
Born Oct. 12, 1932, in Long Beach, California, he inherited his love of adventure from his father, World War II Navy veteran Earl Mouton, himself a survivor of the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack and the 1923 Point Honda Navy disaster. His mother was Millie Lawson Mouton, a trail-blazer of her own as a business owner in the 1930s. They resided in California until they won a military lottery for 100 acres of farm land near Eden, Idaho. There with his parents, he operated a pig farm, harvested acres of potato crops and grew a large family garden. He also met and married his high school sweetheart, Donna Rae Bruce, who worked at the local soda fountain and joined him on many of his adventures for the 72 years of their marriage.
He was a true patriot, carrying on a Navy military tradition begun by his father. During his 20-year career in the Navy and thereafter, he traveled all over the world, from Hawaii, Guam, France, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein, to Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Alaska. He once said his favorite mountain to climb was beautiful Mount Fuji in Japan. He was stationed in California, Iceland, Missouri and Ohio. He retired to Nacogdoches, Texas as a Lieutenant Commander, having served on the U.S.S. Princeton, Rupertus and Edson ships and earning several commendations including the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Taiwan Straits) and the Joint Service Commendation Medal.
As an avid photographer, he recorded many of the castles of Germany, the unique landscape of Iceland, the missions of California and many national park mountains, cliffs, deserts and rivers while also winning several awards for his efforts. He also photographed weddings and was a photographer at The Daily Sentinel newspaper in Nacogdoches for several years. He filmed his children’s activities and donated photos of Garrison’s school events, from football to agriculture events, to the yearbook for several years.
With Donna, their five offspring and even later with many of their grandchildren, they took family adventures water skiing the lakes of California, piloting his Cessna 172 to Idaho, hunting game in Central Texas, camping through the western states and motorcycling from Texas to Nevada.
Before he enlisted, he attended the University of Idaho for one semester and later admitted that he enjoyed the college social life more than the academic offerings. So, he decided after retirement that it was time to return to college in earnest at Stephen F. Austin State University where he earned both Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science degrees in geology. He and Donna moved to Midland where he worked as a geologist for Reed and Associates until he retired in yet another career after 15 years. With their love of the West, they then moved to Utah where they lived near the entrance of Zion National Park before returning to Texas where they raised llamas and he rescued as many cats as he possibly could in Devine and Sealy, ultimately settling in Nacogdoches for a second time.
Earl will be greatly missed by his wife Donna and children, including one daughter, Connie Mouton Scroggins; and sons Rodney Jerome Mouton and Kirsten; Earl Bruce Mouton and Wanda; and Kemit Wayne Mouton and Trisha. His son Steven Lynn Mouton predeceased him. Also, his 13 grandchildren who are Carrie Grosch and Mark; Chris Mouton; Whitney Brown and Shannon; Shelby Mouton and Sarah; Russell Mouton, Grace Mouton, Scott Mouton and Chelsea; Amanda Mouton; Toby Scroggins; Kellie Hooper and Weston; Kinsey Henson and Colin; Thomas Mouton and Sara; and Katie Mouton; 18 great-grandchildren; eight great-great-grandchildren; and the many friends he met throughout his life.
A private graveside service is planned with military honors.