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Hastings resident Juanita Charlene Sears, 90, passed away Saturday, March 4, 2023, at her home. She sustained a fall several days before her death. The fall exacerbated conditions of her already fragile health.
Memorial Services will be 12 p.m. Friday, March 10, at the Celebration Center of First St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Hastings with Pastor Joel Remmers officiating. Burial will be at a later date at Parkview Cemetery in Hastings. A book signing will be 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Thursday, March 9, at the funeral home, and one hour before the service at the church. Memorials may be given to First St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. The service will be live-streamed on Livingston Butler Volland Funeral Home’s website. To view the service, go to Juanita’s obituary and click the play button shown towards the bottom of the page.
Juanita was born August 16, 1932 in Marysville, KS to Orville and Mae (Wiese) Willey. She graduated from Barneston High School in Barneston, NE and moved to Hastings in her late teens. She soon found employment at the Naval Ammunitions Depot and became a career public servant. Over the years, she worked for the Bureau of Reclamation, Social Security Administration, and Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Grand Island. She retired from government service in 1987.
During the years her children needed her near home, she worked for an organization raising funds for the construction of Mary Lanning Hospital’s seven-story tower, which was completed in 1970. She worked two years for stockbrokers Denninger and Associates, and several years as secretary for the Chief of Police in Hastings.
Juanita married Chuck Sears, having been introduced by a friend with whom she worked. They built a life together centered around their children and hobbies. Active socially, they influenced the lives of many young couples.
Juanita was a pioneer for women working outside the home. She balanced her career with home life in a seamless fashion. She never missed a parent-teacher conference, PTA, or scout meeting. In early years, she sewed all her daughter’s clothes. In addition to her other duties, she helped her husband manage a small business, Sears Automotive.
Juanita was interested in the history of Spring Ranch, where the family had a modest cabin. She loved animals and there were usually pets at their house, once including a pet skunk. In later years, she and Chuck could usually be found sitting on their front porch surrounded by flowering plants. They especially enjoyed it when friends stopped to visit.
Juniata followed Chuck in his car racing and flagman careers. The two enjoyed riding across the country on their Honda Gold Wing motorcycle. There were many trips to the Black Hills and Estes Park. They rode over 250,000 miles together.
Although Juanita had elementary piano lessons in her youth, she was a self-taught organist until her retirement, when she took weekly organ lessons in Lincoln until she mastered the skill. Chuck and Juanita were active in the country music festival that once met in Hastings. They hosted a band in their home annually.
Reading was central to Juanita’s life. Although she was usually current with best sellers, Catherine Cookson was her favorite author. Her favorite saying and motto in life was, “You make your own luck.”
Juanita is preceded in death by her parents; daughter, Charlene Sears; son, Charles Scott Sears; grandson, Riley Sears; brothers Robert Willey and Eugene Willey.
Juanita is survived by her husband, Charles; daughter, Tamerra Sears Pauley, son, Greggory Kipp Sears; grandchildren, William ‘Chip’ Pauley IV, Elizabeth Pauley, Kayce Sears, and Shoni Sears; great-grandchildren, Kylynn Sears and Everlynn Sears; sister, Judy Herberg; nephew, Rob Herberg; and niece, Tanya Bartel.
Thursday, March 9, 2023
8:30am - 4:00pm (Central time)
Livingston Butler Volland Funeral Home & Cremation Center
Friday, March 10, 2023
11:00am - 12:00pm (Central time)
Friday, March 10, 2023
12:00 - 1:00pm (Central time)
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