CORNING, N.Y. (WETM) – An obituary for Gerald Early, the 100-year-old World War II veteran who was killed in his Corning home last weekend, has been published by The Leader.

At this time, no services for Early have been publicly announced.

Gerald C. Early, 100, of Corning, NY, passed away on June 6, 2020.

Born on March 4,1920 in Astoria, NY to Charles and Clemence (Davis) Early. He was married to Gertrude Schwenn on April 16, 1949 at Kings Point. They enjoyed 54 years of marriage. She preceded him on May 2, 2005.

Gerald served as a Merchant Marine during World War II from April 1942 until the mid-1950s, scuttling the ship Courageous on D-Day to make a break wall on the beaches of Normandy. Early lived in Corning since 1956 and opened the first coin operated laundry in Steuben County, named the Red Arrow, as well as managing multiple rental properties until his retirement at the age of 97.

His hobbies included sailing on Seneca Lake, traveling the world, and his appetite for history books. He was an active member of the Corning Lions Club and First Baptist Church of Corning. He will be remembered for his elephant memory, contagious laugh, and words of wisdom.

Gerald is survived by his three children: Jocelyn, Craig (Linda), and Stewart (Denise); and six grandchildren: Allison and Lindsey, Kate (Kevin) and Megan, and Grace and Charles.

To honor the life and memory of Gerald, please donate to the First Baptist Church or Salvation Army.

A memorial service will be announced at a later date.
To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.

Published in The Leader on Jun. 11, 2020.

Corning Police allege that Brenda Lee McKay, a former assistant of Early’s who was fired due to COVID-19 concerns, killed Early in his home on Saturday. An autopsy determined his cause of death to be blunt force trauma.

Authorities say that McKay was generally cooperative during the investigation and that she was named a suspect following a neighborhood search and after interviews with Early’s family.

The homes of McKay and Early were both searched by police and developed as crime scenes. McKay lived on the 100 block of Walnut Street near Early’s home on West First Street, according to police.

McKay did not show any signs of intoxication while being questioned by police and has no prior criminal record, according to police. Spaulding says that Corning police have encountered her about 20 times in as many years due to trespass and noise complaints by neighbors.

Steuben County District Attorney Brook Baker could not comment on whether McKay had a history of mental health issues. At this time, investigators do not believe McKay would have any financial gain due to Early’s death, but that is still a part of their investigation, as well as how she entered the home.

Baker says that the maximum penalty for McKay’s second degree murder charge is 25 years to life. Her next court appearance in Corning City Court is on July 28.