Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Earl Vining, 1932-2013

Boxing coach earned Purple Heart in war




MONROE — Earl Vining, a longtime youth boxing coach who was publicly recognized for volunteer efforts, died Tuesday in Mercy Memorial Hospital. He was 80.

He was in ill health and most recently developed complications of an aortic aneurysm, his wife, Easter, said. He lived the last year in Fountain View of Monroe nursing home.

Mr. Vining was head boxing coach at the Arthur Lesow Community Center gym on Monroe’s east side, and his fighters took part in championship amateur bouts beyond the local level.

“He was an inspiration to many people,” his wife said. “And he was a low-key person. He wasn’t loud. He just did what he loved to do.”

C.D. “Al” Cappuccilli, a former Monroe mayor, said: “Earl had boxing in his blood.”

Mr. Vining was a disciplinarian, in his own restrained way.

“He just wanted for those young boys and men who were interested, he just wanted to get them off the street,” his wife said. “Kids were drawn to him. He did an excellent job.”

The boxing community knew him for dedication and sacrifice — “being there all the time,” said Todd Riggs, who was a boxer and is a coach at Joe’s ALCC Boxing Club. “He was a great guy. He was happy and had a great smile on his face. He was always a very humble guy.”

Two of Mr. Vining’s sons, Keith and Kevin, competed widely. Keith, a former national Golden Gloves light heavyweight champion, became a youth boxing coach in Monroe.

Mr. Vining was chosen to be a coach at the Golden Gloves’ 1987 national tournament of champions in Tennessee.

Monroe County Commissioners honored him last decade, as did then-Mayor Cappuccilli and Monroe City Council.

“He really gave of himself to the kids on the east side of town,” Mr. Cappuccilli recalled. “Earl had a charisma. It was something about him.”

Local groups recognized him for his volunteerism, for being a positive influence.

Mr. Vining was employed at Ford Motor Co. for 30 years, retiring in 1983 as an assemblyman at the Monroe facility. After work, he returned home; showered, changed, and went to the community center gym.

“He was honored that he got those awards. He did what he did because he wanted to,” his wife said. “He gave of himself because that’s what he enjoyed doing. He spent a lot of hours training a lot of young kids.”

He was born July 29, 1932, in Monroe to Annie and Elmer Vining. He boxed during his youth and in 1952 graduated from Monroe High School.

He was drafted into the Army and fought in the Korean War. He was wounded in battle and was hospitalized for a year afterward. He carried shrapnel in his right leg for the rest of his life. Unable to box, he turned to coaching, his wife said.

He received a Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, she said.

Mr. Vining was a former third vice president of the NAACP of Monroe County.

He was a lay reader at Carey Chapel AME Church, where he was a member.

“He was a good father,” his wife said. “We had a blended family, and he was an excellent husband and a good provider.”

He was formerly married to the late Charlotte Vining.

Surviving are his wife, Easter, whom he married March 31, 1979; sons, Mark Keith, Kevin, Eric, Robert, and Brian; daughter, Kimberly Vining-Bell; stepson, Ronald Johnson; stepdaughters, Lisa Johnson, Jacqueline McGhee, and Karen Martin; brother, Kenneth Vining; 30 grandchildren, and 25 great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be 6-8 p.m. today in the Bacarella Funeral Home, Monroe, where services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: or 419-724-6182.

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