Earl Elijah Mickens, Sr. was born on April 21, 1924 in Sumter, South Carolina. He was one of nine children and the eldest son of the late Wilson and Lou Ida Mickens. Earl left Sumter at the age of 17 like countless others attempting to leave behind the oppressive racism of the Deep South. Earl joined the "Great Migration" north and settled in Paterson N.J. He quickly secured a job in the booming silk industry taking place in Paterson with the Jencraft Corporation. During the winter of 1943 Earl was drafted into the United States Navy where he served in the Seabee Construction Corps. He and other servicemen and women, later touted as "The Greatest Generation", proudly served their country during World War II. Following his enlistment Earl received training as a welder and landed a job at Curtis-Wright Aeronautical.
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Earl Mickens possessed a true entrepreneurial spirit. While working at Curtis-Wright, he also became a Master Barber in his spare time. Later he secured the capital and was able to purchase a barbershop from his mentor Mr. Dorsey. That barbershop located on North Main Street in Paterson became a mainstay and gathering place for many years to come. During the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the 60's the barbershop was one of the central places, along with the church, to congregate, strategize and dispense pertinent information. In the years to follow, Earl went on to purchase a liquor store located at 49 North Main Street on the same block as Mickens Barber Shop. Everyone in the area knew and respected" Mr. Earl". They knew he was a man of few words who didn't tolerate foolishness. He didn't talk much but when he did, to borrow from today's vernacular, "His word was Bond."
Due to a phenomenally strong work ethic, Earl maintained several streams of income, including becoming an independent Life Insurance agent with A.L. Williams and also acquiring an automotive dealer/broker license with Detroit Automotive.
Raised with a strong emphasis on family and a devout Christian background, Earl and his beloved wife Catherine played a large part in instilling Biblical principles in their children.
The family attended First A.M.E. Zion Church in Paterson NJ under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Louis M. Richardson where Earl was a faithful member of the Trustee Board. He continued to serve in the Ministry of Helps for many years with The Redeeming Love Christiann Center in Nanuet N.Y. under Pastors Clinton and Sarah Utterbach.
Upon retiring to Charlotte NC in the 90’s, Earl and Catherine were members of Desiring God Community Church with Pastor Coty Pinckney and Word of Messiah Ministries with Sam Nadler. They enjoyed their Golden Years by staying active in church, traveling, and attending and hosting Bible Studies. Earl took particular pleasure intending to his yard and gardens surrounding their dream home. He loved spending time with his family and was revered and adored by his wife and family for his calm steady influence and warm demeanor.
In 2010, Earl & Catherine moved from Charlotte NC to Atlanta GA to be closer to their children. In 2015, after 58 years of devoted matrimony, Earl was predeceased by the love of his life, his wife, Catherine Elizabeth while living together in South Florida near their daughter Pam.
In September 2019, his family moved him from Florida to Las Vegas to be nearer to his son Darryl and his family. He transitioned to be with the Lord peacefully and in a state of comfort on July 6, 2020.
Earl Mickens was predeceased by 4 sisters: Leah Clark, Mary Quince, Marie Issac, Alberta Rogers, and 1 brother Rev. James W. Mickens.
He leaves to cherish his memory 2 sisters, Janie Witherspoon and Susan Spann, both of Sumter South Carolina, as well as 1 brother William Mickens also in Sumter, SC.
Earl Elijah Mickens was known to be a cool, calm and collective individual. He was the epitome of grace under pressure, power under control, and quiet strength. He led an exemplary life with integrity, compassion, and an abundance of love....
He is survived by his 3 sons Earl Mickens Jr., Rev. Bernard Hamilton (Joyce Hamilton) and Darryl L. Mickens (Dawn A. Mickens); his two daughters Paulette L. McNear, and Pamela L. McCray (Nathan McCray); a total of 13 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.
He will be forever missed.....