Hal Sears Gone, But I Will Never Forget Him.

June 16th, 2010

My dear friend Hal Sears has departed this old world and he will be greatly missed by many, many people. He was a one of a kind, extremely unique person with a zest for life and a quest to understand it. If you peruse Hal’s obituary, you will rapidly discover a man who chose a decidedly cobbley path filled with interesting twists and turns. Talking to Hal was always an adventure.

Long time readers might remember the day that Hal and I made an echinacea tincture together.  I am so glad that I got to spend that time with him.  Years ago, when I worked at the cooperative grocery in Lawrence, Hal was my boss.  We became very good friends. He was a reader at my wedding.  I chose Hal to read the New Testament scripture during the ceremony and I picked Hal for a reason.  He was a man who was always willing to look at things with a fresh perspective as well as a man who sought forgiveness and who easily forgave.  (I chose Norma Osbourne to read the Old Testament, because to me, Norma was Job – a woman who had lost everything and still found a reason to fight hard to live and to love, but Norma is a different story for a different day).

I just wanted to pause and remember Hal.  Because he was my friend and to say that I am so very glad that I had the privilege of knowing him.


Hal’s Fantastic Obituary…

Hal Don Sears was born the youngest of three children on Turkey Mountain, near Clarksville Arkansas in 1942. His parents, Lowry and Evelyn (Jones) Sears, were farmers. His has two sisters, Rochelle and Phyllis, both still living. He joined the Marines in 1960 and played French horn in the Marine Band until 1964. After completing his service with the Marines, he attended the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, where he met and married his wife Davida. They moved to St. Louis in 1966 where he achieved his degree in History from the University of Missouri at St. Louis. In 1969, he was awarded a Danforth Fellowship and moved to California to study at Stanford University. After settling in Santa Cruz with Davida, Hal expanded his interests in natural medicine, herbs and wild-crafting. In 1977, Hal, Davida and their daughter, Laurel, moved to Lawrence, KS. He joined the Community Mercantile Co-Op in 1982, where he became their vitamin and herbal supplements specialist until his retirement in 2005.
Throughout his life, Hal was a writer. His works included The Sex Radicals: Free Love in the High Victorian Era, articles on herbalism, sports history, Dr. W.A. Quayle (founder of Baker University) and C.G. Jung. Lately, he was working on stories of his childhood in Arkansas. Hal was an avid reader and studied intellectuals and their writings until the end of his life. He was a devoted member of St. John’s Church, and loved to study and read the Bible and church history.
He has two daughters, Laurel Birdsong Sears and Saida Cora Bonifield. He is grandfather to Mercury Faye and Greer Posey. In the last few months of his life, he ran around joyously with his granddaughter Mercury, helped with a newspaper article on Elderberries, kept up the Adoration at St. John’s church and, from time to time, enjoyed a cold Free State beer. A funeral service will be held at St. John’s Catholic Church on Friday June 18th at 10:00 a.m. A memorial service will be held at a later date to celebrate his life and his many contributions to life in Lawrence.


  • So sorry for your loss. The statement “he ran around joyously with his granddaughter Mercury” brought tears to my eyes and made me remember my dad running around joyously with his grandsons.

  • Cherie:

    Rechelle, thank you for letting us know – some of us in Lawrence don’t get the paper. My son dated his daughter in high school. Very sad. He was a very nice and gentle man.

  • jamoody:

    Sorry for your loss. I remember your post about him, and thought then, as I do now, that he would be an amazing individual to know. Very sad news for you and his friends and family, but sounds like you were fortunate to know and call him friend.

  • Sorry, Hal passed. He seemed like a great guy. I remember that post you wrote about him and found him quite fascinating at the time.

  • Sorry for your loss, Rechelle. Hal seems like he was a great person – & a good friend to you too.

  • I’m so sorry for your loss, and I hope your happy memories of Hal bring you great joy and smiles in this sad time.

    I hope I don’t seem insensitive by mentioning this, but that’s a great obituary. It really gets across Hal’s spirit and life. I love a great obituary, one that really tells you who a person is instead of “just the facts.” Even though I obviously didn’t know Hal, it brings a smile to my face to picture a man who spent his last days running around joyously with his granddaughter and enjoying a an occasional cold beer. One can only wish for that in our last days!

  • LucyJoy:

    Oh….Hal. Though I didn’t know him, I loved your post about the two of you making the echinacea tincture, both now when I read it again & when you first posted it. He sounds like he was a wonderful man – a child of the earth. You were very fortunate to know him.

    I love that one of his daughters has the middle name, “Birdsong.”

  • Sara:

    So sorry for your loss. You were lucky to know him.

  • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

    I’m so sorry about Hal. I remember reading your original post about your visit with him and thinking, “People like Hal make life so much richer.”

  • Nadine:

    I’m so sorry. He sounds like he was a great and very interesting man.

  • Diane:

    I remember Hal as thoughtful, calm and always kind. A wonderful mind. And a very warm and sincere spirit. Seeing Hal was always a good thing. He made the co-op and the community better.

  • I’m so sorry for your loss. Hal sounds like an exceptional person.

  • NC Gal:

    We should all be so lucky to have a friend like Hal in our time. I’m sorry for the loss of your friend.

  • Kim K. in Western PA:

    I’m sorry for your loss, Rechelle. Good friends are hard to find and he was definitely a keeper. I remember when you made the tincture with Hal. I wish I had known him.

  • AnnB:

    A man that was reasonable, lovely, intellectual, connected, curious, loving, playful, educated, seeking, and God filled devout Catholic. That obituary could give us all something to strive for.

  • sandy:

    Please accept my sympathies on the loss of your friend Hal.

  • I remember that post. My condolences for your loss.

  • Lori E:

    What a privilege to have had him as a friend.

  • Megan:

    Sounds like a life well lived and a man well loved.

  • Ga in GA:

    Rechelle, my thoughts are with you and Mr. Sears’ family. May you all find solace in your memories.

  • I’m sorry about your friend Rechelle.


  • Sorry to hear of your loss. I remember reading the article (I think it was one of the posts that hooked me on your blog) and thinking he was a fascinating man. The type I’d love to spend a few days with just listening to his stories.

  • Hal Don and I grew up together….were in the high school band at the same time and I was always envious of his great musical ability and very high intelligence. He earned his spending money working after school and on Saturdays at Laster’s Drug Store. He always thought “outside the box” which became very evident when he told me that he was going into the Marines right out of high school…I thought that he had flipped his lid as none of us in our class had thot ambition…joining the local national guard unit or naval reserve unit was not for him as it was for many of us.
    Hal Don made the most of his musical abilities in the Marine
    Band and used his military experiences to make him a more intelligent and interesting person.
    I did not see much of him after he left the corp….never met his wife or children but he is still fresh in my mind as one of the most interesting, intelligent men I was honored to have known. He will be truly missed by a large amount of his peers, family and friends.
    In great reverence and many condolences to his family,
    Ray, New Braunfels, TX