Owen Thomas Sears
1912 - 1993

 

Owen Thomas Sears was born on August 9, 1912 in Nacogdoches County in east Texas. He learned early in his life what hard work was as the oldest son of farmers. Getting an education was always very important so it was not out of the ordinary for the family to get breakfast in the dark so they could be in the fields at first light. He would work until time to walk to school and return to the fields as soon as he could get home after school. Tommy met the love of his life, Fay Rives, while attending school in Rusk County. Because Fay was an only child and very protected, they slipped away on the afternoon of their graduation from high school and were married at the Bible Chair near the campus of Stephen F. Austin College in Nacogdoches on May 28, 1931. After Fay completed her Valedictory address, Tommy whisked her away and they began their life as college students at SFA. Their first child, Jacqueline, was born in 1933.

Times were hard and education was a slow progress because Tommy had to work as well as go to school but he finally obtained his bachelor's degree in education from Stephen F. Austin College in 1943. He went on to get his master's degree in education from the University of Texas in 1949 as well as his principal and superintendent certification in 1955. He always enjoyed learning and did additional graduate study at the University of North Texas in Denton. Tommy worked for many years in the field of education in the east Texas area, serving for many years as principal and superintendent in Pineland before moving to Uvalde in 1951 to become the principal at Uvalde Junior High School. He served in that capacity until moving to the position of high school principal in 1956.

He left Uvalde in 1964 to become superintendent at Utopia where he served until his retirement in 1973. Even though he worked in the capacity of administrator, he enjoyed teaching and always tried to teach at least one subject in addition to his other duties. He also enjoyed coaching basketball, tennis and golf when he could. When driver's education began to be taught through the schools, he was one of the first to become a certified Driver's Education Teacher. Many of the students in the Uvalde County area learned how to drive with Mr. Sears and he continued to teach driving until 1988.

Mr. and Mrs. Sears were very active in Baptist churches in east Texas, Uvalde and Utopia. They both taught Sunday School classes for many years and Tommy served as a deacon as well. In community affairs, Mr. Sears was active in the volunteer fire departments in Pineland and Uvalde and was active in Boy Scouts leadership, Rotary and Lions Clubs.

He was inducted into the Masonic Lodge of Texas on July 10, 1940 and was active in lodges in Pineland, Uvalde and Utopia, and was Past Master of Pineland and Utopia lodges. He was also a member of Alzafar Shrine Temple of San Antonio and Border Shrine Temple of Uvalde. In their later years when most people would just relax, Tommy and Fay stayed on the go and were active in the Uvalde Honey Bees Square Dance Club, Bluebonnet Good Sam Camping Club, Camping Squares and Hill Country Good Sam Camping Club.

The many friends they made in their various associations were definitely important to both Tommy and Fay, but they were also interested in keeping up with former students and what they were doing with their lives. Mr. Sears was extremely proud of his former students and his "investment" in their futures. He loved to hear stories of their good works or good fortunes, but he especially enjoyed seeing students from the past and hearing their stories first hand. He always said that was the reward for working in education for so many years.

Though they always maintained a very busy schedule, they always had time for their children and grandchildren. The interest in education made a lasting impression on their children and three of the four became Texas teachers while the fourth worked in the business office of SFA University. They had three daughters: Jacqueline, who was married to Stanley Lindsey and lives in Georgetown; Barbara, who married Frank Elrod and lives in Georgetown; Deborah, who married Glenn Lindsey and lives in Tarpley. Their only son, Owen Henry Sears, passed away in 1980 in Brownsville. O. T. Sears died on May 16, 1993, at the age of 80 and Fay Sears passed away on November 12, 2003. They are both buried in Hillcrest Cemetery in Uvalde.