Joseph Paul Sears passed away at home with his family by his side on December 31, 2021, after battling cancer for eleven months. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Julienne, daughters Megan and Anne, of Seattle, his sister, Sue Sowers, brother Richard Sears, both of Ohio, brother-in-law Jerry Kaufman, of Seattle and six nieces and nephews.
Joe was born in 1948 in Columbus, Ohio to Dorothy and Joseph K. Sears. He attended The Ohio State University and the University of Denver. His early career was in radio and television as a reporter and later news anchor in El Paso, TX. After moving to Washington in 1980, Joe worked for FEMA as a Public Information Officer at the Mt. St. Helens volcano information center in Vancouver, WA. Joe later moved into education, working for Highline Community College with developmentally disabled adults. This work was well-suited to Joe's kind, patient and generous nature.
His dedication to improving the quality of life for his students was evident in his commitment to developing job opportunities and training, as well as his encouragement of their hobbies. Joe facilitated students' participation in enrichment activities like the Washington Special Olympics and People First of Washington, whose West Seattle chapter meetings he facilitated.
Following his retirement, Joe spent time volunteering as an active member of the Climate Reality Project's Leadership Corps and exploring his adopted Pacific Northwest with Julienne. He found solace in nature and especially loved Alki Beach, Orcas Island, Mt. Rainier, and California's Muir Woods. Of all of his accomplishments, Joe was proudest of being a father to his loving daughters, and of his family, who will miss him forever. They will miss his sense of humor, quiet chuckle, beautiful hazel eyes, and even his affinity for picking up other peoples' trash in public places -- using his long-handled trash picker, which made his girls cringe during their middle and high school years, but who now cherish this memory as a very real reminder that he was "one of the good guys." Per Joe's wishes and concern for Covid safety, there will be no public service. Memorial donations in Joe's name may be made to the Climate Reality Project.
Please share memories of Joe and photos on the Tribute Wall, located above.
Arrangements Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home of West Seattle
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