Earl was born in Bonners Ferry, Idaho in 1922. After graduating from Bonners Ferry High School, Earl attended the University of Idaho on a football scholarship while also competing in basketball and track.
The University of Idaho was then affiliated with the Pacific Coast Conference, which in 1943 bestowed honorable mention upon Earl as a running back.Chandler served in the US Army during World War II. After moving to Boise in 1946, he was a national field representative of the American Legion before organizing Chandler Supply Company in 1956. By the late 1970s Chandler's lumber wholesale operation was active around the nation and was a major supplier to the manufactured housing industry.
His civic engagement includes service as a trustee of the Boise School District, the presidency of the Bogus Basin Recreation Association, and a stint as director of The Highlands Community Center.
As a member of the ROTC at the University, Earl was called to serve in the U.S. Army in World War II and was honorably discharged in 1945.