Pickard Funeral Home - Stratford
305 West Smith
Stratford, OK 74872
(580) 759-2221
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Dec 12, 1928 - Dec 6, 2013 OKLAHOMA CITY Earl was born in 1928 and was one of 10 Chickasaw Indian children of Bessie and Dink Keel in Stratford, Oklahoma. He grew up on 160 acres of land received from his Chickasaw ancestors following the Trail of Tears and the tribe's forced exodus from Georgia. He would have turned 85 this week. He was very close to his brothers and sisters, and more than one sister said he was their protector. He spent much of his education at the Chilocco Indian School in the 1940s with his siblings. He played football for Chilocco, O.S.U. and Cameron, but his forte was in boxing. He was a boxer for 25 years as both an amateur, then a professional. He was the state champion 1947-1949 and a national finalist in 1948. Professionally, he had 67 wins vs. 14 losses. His coach was "Shifty Dando." The coach in the movie "Rocky" played by Burgess Meredith had to have been modeled after Shifty Dando. They were the same character. Earle was inducted into the Native American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997. He was a close friend of heavyweight champ Joe Louis for many years. Once he hung up the gloves, Earle refereed or judged fights by Muhammed Ali, Sonny Liston, and George Foreman. He owned a limousine business in Houston for many years with as many as 17 limos. He lived with his sister, Ruth Moss, for five years before moving to the Norman Veterans Center for the last three years, where they took great care of him. He is loved by many, and his happy demeanor always cheered others. He is survived by his son, Lou Keel; and his daughter, Libby Keel. Surviving sisters include Ruth Moss, Betty Lucas, and Anne Butler. Surviving brothers are Leland Keel and Robert Keel. Funeral services will be Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 2 p.m., at the Pickard Funeral Home, Stratford, Oklahoma.

Published in The Oklahoman from Dec. 10 to Dec. 11, 2013
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