William Earl Irick Jr., 83, of Early, died Wednesday evening at the Brownwood Regional Medical Center.

Funeral services will be held at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 16, in the Heartland Funeral Home Chapel. Burial with military honors will follow at the Santa Anna Cemetery.

Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.

He was born March 14, 1924, in Coleman County the son of William Earl and Mary Lillian Whetstone Irick Sr. He attended schools in Santa Anna and later served

in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was a decorated veteran, receiving a Purple Heart, and was especially proud of his rifleman commendation. He served at the Battle of the Bulge and in Normandy and was currently a member of the Disabled American Veterans.

He was one of the true real cowboys and will be remembered always wearing his Levis and boots everywhere. He used to love to break mustangs. He later moved to Brown County, where he farmed and ranched. He also worked in the oilfields for Halliburton and was a lineman for Coleman County Telephone Co-Op. In his later years, he worked as a mechanic for Sewalt Butane Company.

He was very interested in kids and helped to organize the first Early baseball team. He will be missed by the many lives he touched.

He was married to Mary Ruth Lamb in Santa Anna on Feb. 1, 1946. He was a Baptist.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Ruth Irick of Early; a daughter, Beth Joyner of Early; three grandchildren, Vance Gregory Joyner, Amy Lynne Joyner and and Lori Leigh Joyner, all of Early; two great-grandchildren, David Lynn Joyner and Kristy Nichole Joyner, both of Early; two sisters, Ruth Laverne Clark of Naples, Fla. and Mary Frances Williams of Brownwood; and two nephews, Frank Williams and Donald Harlow.

He was preceded in death by a brother, John Franklin Irick.

Friends are invited to sign the guestbook at www.heartlandfuneralhome.net

Arrangements are by Heartland Funeral & Cremation Services of Early.