“Speedy” Harrell was born on River Road in Rockledge to George Lewis and Chana Lee Collier Harrell on September 28, 1927, and has lived in Central Brevard County his entire life. He remembers a time before DDT was developed as an insecticide. He says that if you put your hand on a window screen on the shady side of a house, it took only a few seconds for the mosquitos to form a solid black mirror of your hand as they attempted to bite you through the wire mesh. Everyone had window screens, because there was no air conditioning.
Harrell graduated from Rockledge High School in 1945, with thirty-two classmates. He remembers using a “mosquito beater” to keep the blood suckers off of his mother as she put laundry on the line to dry, and to protect his brother as he milked a cow. Florida pioneers like the Harrell family would lash together palm fronds to create “mosquito beaters” to brush away swarms of the biting insects.
He led a full life and touche many with his stories and kindness. Some highlights of his life:
- George served in the Army in World War II, shortly after high school, earning an Army of Occupation medal and World War II Victory medal.
- Attended Stetson University in DeLand on a football scholarship
- Creator and Founder of Mosquito Beaters. More than 4,000 on the past attendance list and it has grown every year for 34 years.
- Created the Space Coast Post Card Collectors’ Club and the Florida Knife Collectors’ Club
- Won many awards for his personal knife collection
- Volunteered at the Florida Historical Library and was sought after by MANY for his knowledge of local history.
- Written and published 4 books on Brevard County history
- Coached his child's softball team to the USSSA World Series for three years.
- Received the key to the City of Cocoa twice- almost 20 years apart
- ...and so many numerous ways, to much to be listed he was a part of the community and is missed.
George Leland "Speedy" Harrell, 91, passed away on Monday, April 22, 2019 in Rockledge Florida and was laid to rest with military honors April 29th 2019 at Florida Memorial Gardens, 5950 US-1, Rockledge Florida.