January 23, 2013
Paul Sears, 73, of Grandview passed away on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, from complications of advanced diabetes, at the VA Hospital, in Seattle.
Paul was born July 1, 1939 on the family farm in Mabton, the last of six children raised by Phillip and Vivian Sears. He graduated from Grandview High School in 1959.
Paul honorably served in the U.S. Army, where he enlisted in 1963. He was an Army sharpshooter and was trained as a light vehicle driver at Fort Ord, Calif. He was transferred to serve in Europe. Upon completion of his tour of duty in 1965, he returned to the Yakima Valley.
It was in the fall of 1965 that he met his lovely bride-to-be, Celia "Sally" Cortez, in a coffee shop, where she worked in Mabton. Ironically, Paul didn't drink coffee, but that didn't stop him from frequenting the establishment and courting the beautiful Ms. Cortez.
Paul and Sally were married by Father Green at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Mabton the day after Christmas in 1966. Their marriage was one of controversy, at the time, as interracial marriages were very rare in the region. However, being a trailblazer was not new to Paul or the Sears, as their family was one of the pioneering African-American families in the Yakima Valley.
Besides being a farmer, Paul worked as a brick mason with his brother-in-law, William Bell. He also was a truck driver for Pistoresi Transport and helped build the I-90 floating bridge with Fiorito Brothers Construction. Paul was also the "P", as co-owner of JP's Pizza in Grandview, with his son, Jeffrey. Most recently, he was an agricultural consultant with Trinity Financial of Everett.
Paul loved to pheasant hunt with his sons and their dogs, Rusty and Mika, as well as hunt for deer. He also loved to take his family for "day camping" in the Rimrock area. An avid antiques collector, Paul loved to barter and "make a deal" whenever he could.
According to Sally, Paul loved to socialize with friends and barbecue, always adding a bit of "spice" to whatever the occasion needed. She also said that he loved to dance and they would dance the night away at weddings, various grange halls, the Sunrise in Grandview, as well as the Safari in Sunnyside.
Friends said that Paul was always smiling and had a "twinkle" in his eyes. He had a great sense of humor and could strike up a conversation with anyone. No one was ever a stranger. He was very generous and always willing to help. Even if someone called him with a wrong number, he would ask who they were trying to reach and see if he could help find them.
He is survived by his wife, Celia "Sally" Cortez-Sears of Grandview; sons, Paul F. (Annie) Sears of Salem, Ore. and Jeffrey P. (Maria) Sears of Yakima; one daughter, Jennefer L. (Scott) Sears-Johnson of Kent; as well as eight grandchildren, Morgan, Ashley, Matthew, Jeremiah, Taeya, Jordan, Cecelia and Andrew; numerous nieces and nephews; grandnieces and grandnephews; and great-grandnieces and great-grandnephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, Phillip; his mother, Vivian; his brothers, Wayne and Mark; his sisters, Veotha Bell, Donna Clash and Lucia Sears; and his newborn granddaughter, Tatianna Sears.
At this time, there are no services planned.
Washington Cremation Services in Seattle is in charge of arrangements.