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In Memory of
John Sidney Searcy
October 8, 1924 - March 22, 2021

Born in Greenville, Alabama, on October 8, 1924, to Mary Elizabeth Mae and Eugene Searcy, John Sidney Searcy was the seventh of eight sons. He graduated from Greenville High School, where he played football and most other sports, achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, and participated in the schools newspaper and annual, the National Honor Society, and other clubs. John was drafted along with many of his classmates upon graduation from high school. At one point four Searcy sons were serving in World War II simultaneously.

Beginning his military service in 1943, John was selected for the Army Specialized Training Program in engineering and began accelerated course work at the University of Georgia. After several months, however, military students were redeployed as soldiers, and he was sent to the 10 th Armored Division. As part of Company B, 54 th Armored Infantry Battalion, he saw combat in France, Germany, and then Belgium in the Battle of the Bulge. Wounded in Bastogne, Belgium, on January 4, 1945, he was partially mended in England and on his return to the front when peace broke out in Europe. John received a series of reconstructions to his face in hospitals in multiple states over a period of a year and a half after returning to the United States.

Discharged from the Army in 1946, John took advantage of the GI Bill to earn his Associate of Science from the Marion Military Institute and then transferred to the University of Alabama, where he received his B.S. and M.S. in chemical engineering. Throughout his career, he worked as a research and development scientist for petrochemical companies in Louisiana, Texas, and Ohio. Even so, he spoke in the cadences of Alabama all his life. In the early 1950s in Lake Charles, Louisiana, he met and married Mabel Burnett, a lovely woman who could sing a lively tune and do calculations in her head faster than anyone. Together they raised three children, Deborah Kay, John Riley, and Brenda Jean. Wherever they lived, John and Mabel had gardens with tomatoes, peppers, and vegetables, and took delight in raising flowers including lilies, bougainvillea, hydrangea, hibiscus, roses, and impatiens.

John ran for exercise decades before it was common to do so, and golfed well into his 80s. He loved walking through arboretums, parks, and the outdoors, and enjoyed trips with family to the Texas Hill Country and Gulf Coast, as well as Colorado. A gentle man, who whistled more than he talked, he showed respect to everyone. No one can recall his ever holding a grudge. Friends of his children said he always welcomed them, accepting them with whatever traveling companions they brought, human or animal or both. When John leveled his gaze and nodded, one felt truly seen.

After Mabel passed away in 1986, John renewed friendships from his youth in Alabama and then traveled regularly for fishing and golfing outings with them. He began participating in Army reunions in the 1990s, including the 50 th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day in Belgium, a Veterans Honor Flight in 2010, and trips to visit Washington, DC, memorials with family members. Throughout his life, John remained active in his church family. He was an avid lifelong reader of news, books, and many magazines and enjoyed watching birds on the feeders in his backyard. Having played bridge with Mabel and friends as a young man, he enjoyed card games and could still best his family in Tic when he was in his mid-90s. Called Papa by his grandchildren (and then by nearly everyone else), he lit up with bright smiles when family and friends visited. Most everyone who knew him admired his steadiness and loyalty.

Having lived through cancer and associated surgeries, he seldom complained of pains, even though they were many, and over many years. When his daughter Brenda asked how he survived all he had, he responded I just keep-a-goin. During the last seven years of his life, he lived in the care of Brenda and devoted private nurse, Laurie Almeida. And he developed a special affection for Ruth the bunny, who enjoyed sitting on his lap and nibbling the blueberries he fed her each evening.

John Searcy passed away on March 22, 2021. He was preceded in death by his parents; by brothers Ed, Robert, Paul, Tommy, Wilmer, Hubert, and Jimmy; by his wife, Mabel; by all his dearest school and military friends; and by his very special friend June Lowry, with whom his family and her family enjoyed many special moments. He is survived by children Deborah Kay (Brent) Groves, John Riley (Svetlana) Searcy, and Brenda Jean Searcy; grandchildren Brendan (Whitney) Groves, Ryan (Ali) Groves, and Karina Searcy; and great-grandchild Galen Parker Groves.

During his life, John Sidney Searcy was awarded two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart from the US government. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre from Belgium and more recently the French Legion of Honor and rank of Chevalier from France. Those who knew him remember a gentle hero, one who quietly cared for and generously supported many family, friends, and organizations the best way he knew how, without saying much.

A family service will take place in Westerville, Ohio, on Saturday, and a graveside service will take place in Greenville, Alabama, in May. The family respectfully requests that, in lieu of flowers, those wanting to honor John Sidney Searcy make a contribution to Worthington Christian Village Benevolent Fund, 165 Highbluffs Boulevard, Columbus, OH 43235; The National WWII Museum, New Orleans, LA, 504-528-1944 (ext 290); or the charity of their choice in his memory.


Hardy and Karen Kirchhoff

Mar 26, 2021

Our sincerest condolences upon the death of your father. He was a long time friend and traveling companion for my mother (Mary McSchooler) until she passed away 10 years ago. He definitely lived a long and full life. May we all be so lucky.


Harry Brown

Mar 27, 2021

I remember meeting Mr. Searcy 40 years ago, when I was in college. I stayed overnight at his house once while I was traveling, and he and his wife were gracious hosts. Over the years I got to see him again several times, and I was always impressed by his gentle nature and witty sense of humor. My condolences to all of the family, especially my friend John Riley.


Joyce Stonebraker

Mar 28, 2021

To Brenda and family, I am so sorry to read that your dad passed away. I hope that you will be able to celebrate the wonderful memories you have of him. Sincerely, Joyce Stonebraker


Joyce Stonebraker

Mar 28, 2021

To Brenda and family, I am so sorry to read that your dad passed away. I hope that you will be able to celebrate the wonderful memories you have of him. Sincerely, Joyce Stonebraker


Sylvia Sholar

Apr 17, 2021

In memoriam John Sidney Searcy March 2021 Inside we see the lights are off now. The drone of the TV is extinguished. The binoculars passive. Outside the evening slips in silently over spruce needles. My chicks shutter their eyes in birdhouses that he built. We sleep better now. We hope he does too. Sylvia Sholar