Thomas Oakes Sears, 70, of Davenport, passed away peacefully Monday, December 27, 2021, at his home surrounded by his loving family. Tom was born on June 16, 1951, in Davenport, Iowa, a son of J. Harold and Ruby (Eastland) Sears. He was united in marriage to Patricia J. Gamble in 1992.
Tommy had a “heart of gold” – always putting everyone else before himself. To say he was a unique person would be an understatement. He was an eccentric and sensitive communicator and had a tremendous ability to read people. He had a great passion for helping others and a knack for connecting with both people and nature. He admired oak trees and clouds and reminded his children to “never forget to look up.”
Tom grew up in Davenport among a large family of brothers and sisters on Iowa Street. This family extended to the many neighbor kids that would call the Sears house their “second home.” Some would become future lifelong friends.
Tom attended Davenport Central High School where he was the varsity QB on the football team, starting shooting guard on the basketball team, and president of the 1969 class. He continued his education at the University of Missouri at Kansas City where he majored in education.
He was a leader with Young Life during college, which was the start of his spiritual journey that evolved in the coming years and would extend to his love of Native American culture and appreciation of world religions and spiritual teachings. He was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam war and became a part of the hippy movement. His actions were driven by love for all living beings.
He started his professional life as a teacher and ran the Scott County Swimming pool for many years, continuing his family’s tradition of excellent swimmers and lifeguards. He ultimately decided to pursue a career in transportation.
Tom drove a school bus for the Davenport Community Schools for more than 40 years and poured his heart and soul into serving the local school kids, particularly those with special needs which he held in the highest regard. If you were lucky enough to experience his bus rides, you may have been a recipient of “100 points” for answering correctly on the daily quiz. In fact, Tom had an incredible memory for historical facts and interactions with him always made you feel like a contestant on Jeopardy.
The Sears family mottos that Tom lived by were always do the maximum and live it up. This was evident in the way he approached life in general. Tom lived a life full of more experiences than most people can dream of and had even remarked that he had nine lives like his pet cats. Tom had more than 100 cats (and a few dogs) through his lifetime and was a lover of all animals, often becoming the caretaker and rehab specialist for the sick and injured who came under his care. This started with the animals he encountered but would later extend to the many people without homes he helped along the way, including someone who became one of his best friends – Saito Kazuhito.
Tom was an expert tour guide in the Quad City area, and you could often see him driving around town playing the likes of The Beatles, Neil Young, and various classical composers like Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin from his car radio. He was an avid Iowa Hawkeyes fan and enjoyed listening to the live radio broadcasts for the football and basketball teams.
Tom’s legacy will live on through his two children Matt and Rachel, his wife Pat, and all of the lifelong friends and family who had the unique pleasure of knowing him personally. Those who were a part of his life will always be able to recount a story of their time with Tom or how they’ve been influenced positively by his values and actions. He was known as an encourager and looked to inspire others to be kinder to all living things.
Tom lived life on his own terms and his favorite quote that captured the zeitgeist of every moment or family gathering was “it will never be like this again.” He will be greatly missed. If you happen to see a nice little squirrel, butterfly, or songbird, say hello as it may be Tom reincarnated.
Those left to honor his memory include his wife Patricia Sears; daughter Rachel (Laura Allured) Sears Longmont, CO; son Matthew (Jill) Sears, Hermosa Beach, CA; siblings Linda “Lyn” (Bob) Parks, Miami, FL, Greg (Pam) Sears, Omaha, NE, Allen (Joan) Sears, San Mateo, CA, Wendy (Gary) Williams, Tallahassee, FL, and Tory (John) Haberlen, Atlanta, GA. He was preceded in death by his parents.
Hare Krishna, Tommy.