Annie Mullen Patrick, Harry Sears, Mary Mullen Kinslow
Harry C. Sears, father of six, passed away Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010, after several months of battling cancer. He persevered for more than a decade with Parkinson's disease as well. He was 81.
He was the beloved husband of Patricia Mullen Sears. He was the best father to Timothy Sears (Lisa), Colleen Kada (Steve), Sharon Slusarski (Mark), Patrick Sears, Shawn Peikin (Doug), and Daniel Sears (Donna). He was the awesome Pop Pop of Taralyn, Kerriann, Shaun, Brendan, Dennis, Riley, Cassidy, Jade, Madelyn, Zachary, Christopher and Jake. He is also survived by his sister, Frances Lorraine Cerritelli. He was preceded in death by his grandson, Dennis, and his sister, Anne Curry.
Harry C. Sears was born on Sept. 14, 1928, to Francis J. and Florence Sears of Philadelphia. Because of Harry's Christening, his father switched work days with a co-worker. Francis was employed by the federal government as a U.S. Treasury agent during the prohibition years. On October 28, the day that Francis worked for his co-worker, he was killed in one of Philadelphia's most publicized fires at Publicker's Alcohol Plant.
Harry attended LaSalle College High School on scholarship and graduated in 1946. He was a lettered member of their legendary crew team which rowed out of Vesper Club on Boathouse Row.
Harry was a devoted son to Florence Sears who died in 1983. He lived with Florence until he met and married Patricia Mullen, "the most beautiful woman he ever saw," in 1956. They moved to Willow Grove in 1961 and immediately registered at St. John of the Cross Parish, where they and their six children were active members.
After college he began his construction career with a small survey company. On his first day, his co-workers had a good laugh when he showed up at the muddy job site meticulously dressed in a suit and tie. In less than two years he progressed to the position of lead surveyor. During the post-war construction boom he worked in the development and expansion of the Philadelphia and surrounding suburbs infrastructure.
Harry's intellect and affinity for mathematics made him an ideal construction estimator. On July 3, 1961, he began his career at James D. Morrisey, Inc. Harry secured for JDM some of the largest private contracts in the Delaware and Lehigh Valleys. Some of his clients were PECO, United Parcel Service (at the Philadelphia airport), Bethlehem Steel, and Mack Truck. His work also at times included public road contracts including major highways throughout the Philadelphia area. While in his 50's Harry taught himself computer programming to automate much of the estimating process. He led and trained many newly minted engineers from local universities while at JDM.
During the mid 1960s, he became a member of Willow Manor Players, a local theater group. He began as a member of the chorus and progressed to lead comedy roles. His all time favorite was the part of "Moonface Martin" in Anything Goes. All who remember seeing him recall his rendition of "Be Like the Bluebird" which he would perform on command for years to come for the delight of his family and friends. He also served as business manager and president for the theater group.
Harry was involved in the cultural phase of CYO at St. John of the Cross Parish in the 1960s, working with high school students while his own children were still in grade school. Using his expertise with the theater group he directed One Act Plays with the teenagers, winning first place in the Philadelphia area in his second year of directing. He also directed several variety shows so all interested teenagers could participate. In the 90s he and Pat filled in as bit players in shows on Ocean City's Music Pier where their granddaughter, Kerriann Kada, had leading roles.
In the 70s, Harry and his wife, Pat, were in leadership in Marriage Encounter in the Eastern Montgomery County area. They were Team Members on many Marriage Encounter Weekends, sharing their relationship with other couples.
Harry and Pat also became involved with the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church. They led the "Life in the Spirit Seminars" for several years and Harry taught many times. Many remember his teaching on True Humility which Harry's life exemplified.
Harry had numerous talents and interests. He loved to dance and especially loved the Mummer's Strut, line dances, and the jitterbug. Whether it was sketching, cooking, concrete work, playing the guitar and piano, acting, photography, carpentry (he built most of the family home), upholstery or comedy, Harry pursued his interests with a patient, persistent, and relaxed style.
Whether performing his Mummer's Strut or sitting at Sunny Willow Swim Club or the beach in Ocean City, N.J., or at a restaurant, Harry was always very close to his immediate family as well as his and Pat's extended families. Harry was much more concerned with others than himself. His family never wanted for anything and lived a very comfortable existence.
Despite his very busy life, Saturday afternoons in autumn belonged to Notre Dame. He usually sat on the floor watching TV, mesmerized by the game, oblivious to the confusion that surrounded him especially while the children were little. In October of 2009 his children took him to Notre Dame to watch the "Fighting Irish." Harry could never put into words his appreciation for this trip especially since he was on the field with the players as a guest of the coach.
Harry's family and friends will remember him by his countless stories which embody his warmth, kindness, intellect, love, caring and probably most of all his sense of humor. Many will never forget his "Martha, the Wide Mouthed Frog" story. To know Harry was to love and admire him. He commanded the respect of all who knew him. In the words of his wife, Pat, "He is truly the finest person I have ever known. I am truly blessed to have been loved by him for 56 years."
His funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, at St. John of the Cross Church, 2741 Woodland Road (at Thomson Road), Roslyn, PA 19001. Interment will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Relatives and friends are invited to his viewing at William R. May Funeral Home, 354 N. Easton Road (at Keswick Ave.), Glenside, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and to his viewing at the church at 10 a.m. Thursday.
Donations to LaSalle College High School Fatherless Son Fund, 9605 Cheltenham Ave., Wyndmoor, PA 19038, or St. John of the Cross Church would be appreciated.