Obituary: Nat Earle, JBT President

Jewelers Board of Trade president Nathaniel C. Earle died recently of cancer. He was 50 years old.

Earle headed the JBT for 13 years. He began his career teaching German and French at Moses Brown School, where he also coached varsity soccer and ice hockey. He eventually left teaching to join the former Rhode Island Hospital Trust Bank, working in the precious metals department. In 1989, he joined JBT.

Earle’s innovations included bringing JBT into the computer age by putting the famed “red book” on CD-ROM, as well as developing a JBT Web site.

“We will all miss him tremendously,” says Paul Nordt, of John C. Nordt Co., Roanoke, Va., and chairman of JBT’s board of directors. “He was a high-energy person and a consummate nice guy. His strong and dynamic leadership was responsible for JBT’s fine reputation and strong financial footing.”

Nordt recalls Earle as being so “hands-on” that when the JBT moved offices, Earle personally helped lug cabinets.

JBT’s manager of credit reporting, Bob Peterssen, says that Earle set an example in leadership for the staff. “He had a great commitment to JBT and to the industry,” he says. “He was the president, but we never felt like we worked for him. We felt like we worked with him.”

Earle is survived by his wife, Anne, and two children.

Michael Poissant of B.A. Ballou and Company will head the search committee for Earles successor.