He’s been linked to the most beautiful women in the world: Ursula Andress, Honor Blackman and Kim Basinger, just to name a few. He’s also been credited with single-handedly saving the world from almost certain destruction on numerous occasions. Nary a day goes by (or so it seems) that someone doesn’t mistake Roger Earl for Roger Moore’s predecessor, a latter-day Sean Connery—the original James Bond.
But that’s not the only separated-at-birth account that hits close to home for this mysterious figure. Turns out, Roger bears a striking resemblance to another distinguished gentleman of British descent—Charles Whitman, the long-lost brother he never knew existed until 68 years after the fact when ancestry.com called from out of the blue. Proving the age-old adage that you’re never too old to learn something new even if it’s about yourself.
What Roger has known all along is that he grew up on a farm in upstate New York, was adopted by his next-door neighbors at age two, and despite his strict Episcopalian upbringing, had his first brush with the law at the ripe old age of six, when he volunteered to wash a city bus both inside and out with a garden hose—a little impromptu community service project that would’ve been better received had the bus not been passing by the house with its windows wide open and its unsuspecting passengers so closed-minded.
Roger changed his tune after that—picking up the violin, the clarinet and a seat on the bus that shuttled the prestigious Columbus Boys Choir to venues up and down the Eastern Seaboard. In 1957, he had to give up being a New York Yankee, which nearly killed him. You see, the family moved to the Deep South—Leland, Mississippi—where Roger was promptly exposed to southern hospitality and the Asian flu.
Truth be told, it was during these formative years that Roger became more closely associated with another “bond,” which exists beyond the fictional character portrayed on the silver screen. And that’s the sacred bond of trust between a commander and his troops, a teacher and his students, a business and its customers and more importantly, a shepherd and his flock. In each case, Roger learned the importance of doing things by the book, as well as by the Book.
Upon graduation from high school, he was honored with a congressional appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. Poor eyesight and a bad back prevented him from fulfilling that dream, but not his calling to help others realize theirs. So he earned a teaching degree from Delta State College and set about the task of opening the eyes of children to the wonders of mathematics and the horrors of a freewheeling yardstick. Both faculty and parents marveled at the respect he commanded and the knowledge the students gleaned under his tutelage.
From there, he parlayed his math degree into a storied career as a quality assurance expert with Lockheed Aircraft, Brunswick Billiards and Magnavox. Eventually, that led to a third career in film processing, a move to Dallas, a home at St. James and the role of a verger—the church’s liturgical quality assurance expert.
When Roger isn’t busy preparing the way for the Kingdom of Heaven, he’s down at the Austin Street Centre preparing meals, shopping for supplies, picking up donations, and providing emotional and spiritual support for 400 needy souls every day.
Much like his Hollywood counterpart, Roger has a commanding presence, a penchant for fast cars and a knack for making the impossible look easy. In fact, just the other day he was driving down Skillman Street when a car pulled up beside him and the driver started honking and motioning for him to roll down his window. When he did, the fella said, “Bond, James Bond?” Roger was shaken–not stirred–but he didn’t let on as much. After all, a secret agent, even one working for the Lord, must be unflappable.