Earl Sewell Jr. passed away Jan. 2, 2021, in Tyler, Texas, at the age of 85. Due to COVID-19, a private family funeral with burial was held in his family cemetery, Wesley Chapel Cemetery, in Van Zandt County. The family is hoping to have a spring celebration of Earl’s life.
Earl was born in the Sewell family home in the Watkins Community in Van Zandt County to Ewert Earl Sewell and Doris Marie Gilliam Sewell. He attended first grade in the Watkins Community school and moved to Wills Point to begin second grade. Earl’s father passed away when Earl was 2, so after World War II, his mother remarried and the family moved to Dallas where Earl completed school graduating from Sunset High School in 1953.
Earl returned to Van Zandt County to work his family farm but moved back to Dallas to enter the business community. He started his business career at First National Bank in Dallas where he met his first wife Nancy Webb. They married in 1955 and had two sons. The family made their home in Lancaster, Texas.
Earl moved to an insurance career several years later which spanned for more than 45 years. He started in the insurance field at Trinity Universal Insurance Company where he became an underwriter. In 1964, he joined Dwight W. Sleeper in the agency side of the industry. In 1972, Earl became Dwight’s partner and Sleeper, Sewell & Company was formed. He became executive vice president in 1975, later serving as president. Earl retired in 2004 from Sleeper, Sewell & Company as CEO and Chairman of the Board. He was a past director of the Independent Insurance Agents of Dallas.
During his insurance career, Earl became very involved in community affairs. He served as a councilman and mayor pro tem (1973-77) and as mayor in Lancaster, Texas (1978-1984).
Earl served on the original Dallas County Appraisal District Board (1980-83) and was involved in hiring Dallas’ first chief appraiser. He served four years on the Dallas County Open Space Committee representing the suburban cities. He organized the South Dallas Regional Organization of mayors, city managers, chamber executives and presidents. He also served many years on the Midway Park General Hospital Board of Directors in Lancaster.
Earl was very active in the Lancaster Lion’s Club serving as president (1971-72) as well as the in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts in Lancaster. He served as a deacon in the First Presbyterian Church in Lancaster. In 1983, he was awarded the Chamber of Commerce Presidential Recognition Award for his “outstanding service to the community over the past 10 years.”
In 1984, Earl married Lynette Hoats Clark in Dallas and added two more sons to his family. They built their home in Van Zandt County in 1989 across the road from where Earl was born and started a commute to Dallas for 17 years until their retirement. His hobby of ranching during his insurance career became his fulltime job, and he loved every minute of it. They became active members of the First Methodist Church in Canton.
Earl is survived by his wife Lynette; four sons and daughters-in-law, Gary and Patty Sewell, Michael and Lynn Sewell, Matt and Donna Clark and Josh and Delaina Clark; 16 grandchildren; six step-grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren; two sisters and brothers-in law, Linda and Louis Halfmann and Janis and Tony Jenkins; brother, Jimmy Hubbard, brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Johnnie and Lyla Hoats; and many nephews, nieces, cousins and other family members.
Earl’s grandsons served as honorary pallbearers. They are Brandon Sewell, Jason Sewell, Steven Sewell, Addison Sewell, Christian Clark, Marcel Clark and Ben Clark.
Memorials can be made to Shriner’s Hospital for Children, St Jude Children’s Research Hospital or the charity of your choice in lieu of flowers.