APRIL 12, 1940 – JUNE 30, 2019
With heavy hearts, we report the passing of Founding Chapter Director, Erling Speer. Erling, a loving and devoted husband, father and grandfather died on June 30th with his family and granddog, Venture, by his side.
“Erling was dedicated to youth development and the children of Martin County,” said Andrew Hunt, Chapter President. “He was also very involved with the Boys & Girls Clubs. Through his leadership and support, The First Tee created a strong and lasting partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs.”
Born on April 12, 1940 in Augusta, GA, his early education began at St. Andrew’s Prep School in Middleton, DE where he became one of St. Andrew’s star athletes by earning his varsity letter in wrestling in his freshman year. Erling attended Washington & Lee University and graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in business.
In the late 1970’s he began his journey as a pioneer of residential golf course communities in Stuart, FL. Both Mariner Sands and Willoughby Golf Club are recognized as two of the finest communities in the area. Erling returned to his Georgian roots when he accepted the Callaway family’s offer to assist Cousin’s Property in adding a residential component to the Gardens. It was during this time that he introduced his New England born and raised wife to pulled pork and pot liquor.
Erling was a true visionary and started the Economical Counsel of Martin County as well as The First Tee of The Treasure Coast. He was actively involved with the Young President’s Organization, Urban Land Institute, Outward Bound and numerous other civic organizations. In 1991, he was designated as the Chamber of Commerce Person of the Year.
His devotion and passion since his retirement has been focused on the Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs of Martin County and The First Tee of The Treasure Coast. His enthusiasm and commitment to their success has been instrumental in the lives of many young children.
“He helped us in so many ways,” said Carl Mistretta, Chapter Executive Director. “He introduced us to instrumental people in golf and the country clubs in Martin County. He always inspired us to continue to grow and evaluate our programs and impact on the community to continually improve.”
Erling, a true Southern gentleman, will be remembered as an entertaining storyteller and, very literally, the nicest person you could ever meet. He was loved and respected by all who knew him.
He is survived by his loving wife Susie, his two daughters, Meredith Gardner and her husband, Peter, of Winter Park, FL; daughter Sara Fox of Tampa, FL and son, Adam Fox of Bellair Bluffs, FL; grandchildren Gideon, Caldwell, Brynleigh and Griffin. Erling’s sister, Ragnild Ezelle, and her husband, Jack live in Savannah, GA with Erling’s two nephews, Charles and Stephen.
A service will be held on Tuesday, July 9th at 10:00 am at Mariner Sands Country Club Chapel, 6500 SE Congressional Way, Stuart, FL 34997.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation to one of the following: The Boys & Girls Club of Martin County, Hospice of The Treasure Coast or St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Stuart, FL.