Earl was born May 23, 1927, in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, to Leon and Sarah Rivard. He was the youngest child of two sisters and six brothers and grew up on the family farm in Rice Lake.
Early on, Earl developed a deep love for flying. He began flying airplanes at age 16 and earned his pilot’s license the same day he graduated from high school. He joined the Air Force out of high school, and after his military service, worked as a commercial pilot in Wyoming.
Earl married Barbara Vanausdahl in September of 1948 in Cheyenne. He worked as a private pilot for Ray O’delle, where he was greatly appreciated for his work ethic and intelligence. In addition to flying, Earl worked for O’delle in his housing construction company, and O’delle later helped Earl set up his first business in Casper.
During his career as a housing contractor, Earl built subdivisions in Casper, Gillette and Powell, and many other places in Wyoming and Montana. He owned several planes during his life, and continued noncommercial flying most of his life — still his first love. He retired from construction in Forsyth, Montana, in the late ‘90s and moved back to Powell in 2007, where he lived until his death.
Earl was an avid hunter and fisherman, as well as having a love for camping and for all life tame and wild. He and his family rescued everything from bum lamb to birds and Earl had wonderful stories about his pet badger, ground squirrel, squirrels, and many dogs he had in his life. Lots of Earl’s stories were about experiences in the wild.
He had a great love for people, and made friends with almost everyone he met. While in Forsyth, his great story telling and amiable nature earned him the nickname “The Govenor” among his friends.
Earl is survived by his sons, Rick (Bev) Rivard of Wrangell, Alaska, and Ron (Liz) of Snoqualmie, Washington; eight grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.
Services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, at St. Barbara’s Catholic Church, 115 E. Third St. in Powell. Anyone who knew and loved Earl is invited to his funeral, as he considered so many people family. His family also extends that invitation to all who knew him.
Earl will be interred beside his wife, Barbara, and his youngest child, Rayleen, in Crown Hill Cemetery. He will be greatly missed, but we know he is now flying in pristine skies.
Thompson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements and condolences may be sent to the family at www.thompsonfuneral.net or P.O. Box 807, Powell, WY 82435.