In Memory of Samuel "Sam" O. Sears

Samuel "Sam" O. Sears
Samuel "Sam" O. Sears
Born: December 15, 1937
Died: August 22, 2021
Age: 83
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Samuel "Sam" O. Sears
December 15, 1937 - August 22, 2021
From: Ida Grove, IA

Samuel “Sam” O. Sears, Jr., age 83, of Ida Grove, Iowa, passed away on Sunday, August 22, 2021, at his residence of Ida Grove, Iowa, after a long but courageous battle with cystic kidney disease.

A Funeral Service will be held at 2:00 p.m., Friday, August 27, 2021, at the St. Paul Lutheran Church of Ida Grove, Iowa. Rev. Richard A. Salcido will officiate. A Visitation will be held two-hours prior from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., on Friday, August 27, 2021, at the St. Paul Lutheran Church of Ida Grove, Iowa. Military Rites will be conducted by the McNamara-Moore Post No. 61 of the American Legion of Ida Grove, Iowa. Committal Services will follow in the Schaller Cemetery of Schaller, Iowa.

The Christensen-Van Houten Funeral Home of Ida Grove, Iowa, is in charge of the funeral arrangements.  Condolences may be sent online at

Samuel O. Sears, Jr., age 83, of Ida Grove, Iowa, passed away on August 22, 2021, at his residence of Ida Grove after a long but courageous battle with cystic kidney disease.

Born December 15, 1937, in New York City (Harlem Hospital), Samuel Oliver Sears, Jr., was the son of Samuel O. Sears, Sr. and Gladys (Taylor) Sears. He was baptized and confirmed in the Christian faith at the Resurrection Catholic Church of Harlem, New York.  Sam grew up in New York City until the age of 14 and relocated to Norfolk, Virginia, where he lived with relatives. He graduated from Norfolk’s Booker T. Washington High School in June of 1955 at the age of 17. In September 1955 he enlisted into the U.S. Air Force.

On June 15, 1957, Sam, as he preferred to be called, married Irene Crocker in Norfolk. The couple were blessed with four children: Darrell (who died at childbirth), Avonda, Terence, and Beverly.

Sam served 20 years in the United States Air Force as a Public Information Specialist, journalist and magazine/newspaper editor, historian, and photographer; Armed forces radio and television service station manager and Project Blue Book (USAF UFO Project) manager. His career took him to 23 countries and every state in the U.S. except for the New England states. He served in Vietnam in combat news and was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service. He retired in November of 1975 as a Senior Master Sergeant from Strategic Air Command in Omaha, NE.

He returned to Rapid City, South Dakota, where he was stationed twice, and went to work at KOTA-TV as their photo-lab manager, processing film for the news and advertising departments. He also operated cameras for noon and nightly news broadcasts, was a news and advertising photographer, and produced on-site news and community TV specials. When the station transitioned to video tape, he was the sole operator of its new video equipment and trained news personnel after attending a Kodak Film School in Denver. He attended the University of Nebraska in Omaha while in the service and the National College of Business after retirement, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.

In May of 1980 Sam moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to become an Army civilian employee and assistant editor of the Fort Carson Mountaineer newspaper. He later became the editor, taking the paper to the best in its class in the Army in 1986 and runner-up in the Department of Defense worldwide. He resigned from his Army position in 1992 and worked in the Colorado Springs Public Affairs Office and media relations supervisor and Public Relations liaison for the fire, gas and electric departments.

On July 4, 1981, Sam married Ann (Lichtenberg) Diekmann in Colorado Springs and with this union, Sam expanded his family by one daughter, Brandi. He also has 9 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. Sam and Ann moved to Arthur, Iowa, in 1995.  He retired in 1998 from Green Thumb, Inc., a Des Moines-based corporation that assisted dislocated workers and seniors to prepare for employment.

Sam and Ann celebrated 40 years of marriage on July 4, 2021. They both loved to travel, especially to Yuma, Arizona, for the winter. He enjoyed playing cards and games with family and friends, playing golf and was an avid Denver Broncos fan. He was an active member of McNamara-Moore Post No. 61 of the Ida Grove American Legion. Sam was a life member of the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Retired Enlisted Association. He was a faithful member of the St. Paul Lutheran Church of Ida Grove and an associate member of the Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church of Yuma. He was confirmed in the LCMS Lutheran faith in 1985 in Hawaii.

Left to cherish his memory are his loving wife of 40 years, Ann Sears; sisters Dolores Horton and Iris Moore; son Terence (Winsome) Sears; daughters Avonda (Elmon) Oliver, Beverly (Alex) Yarborough, and bonus daughter Brandi Crawford; nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren; numerous nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.

Sam was preceded in death by his parents Gladys and Samuel Sears, Sr.; son Darrell (in infancy); granddaughter DeJon Williams; great-granddaughters Victoria and Faith Williams; and brother Ronald Sears, Sr.


2:00 p.m., Friday,
August 27, 2021
St. Paul Lutheran Church
Ida Grove, Iowa


Rev. Richard A. Salcido


Lance Ladwig
David Ladwig
Lealand Anderson
Jered Iversen
Justin Frank
Tyler Leinbaugh


Two-Hours Prior to the Service
12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., Friday,
August 27, 2021
St. Paul Lutheran Church
Ida Grove, Iowa


"Beautiful Savior"
"Amazing Grace, My Chains Are Gone" ~ solo
"The Lord's Prayer"
"On Eagle's Wings"

Sue Salcido, Organist
Journey Iversen, Vocalist


Schaller Cemetery
Schaller, Iowa


Sunday, September 5, 2021 at 2:49 PM
“Ann and family- so very sorry to hear Sam has passed on. He was such a wonderful person and he always knew when you needed a hug or a pat on the back!! I surely will miss him! Rest In Peace Sam! You are whole again.”
- Angela Goodman
Friday, August 27, 2021 at 2:34 PM
“PSALMS 116.
My sincere condolences to you and family Aunt Ann, I will always remember the time spent with you and Uncle Jr. JUNE 20, 2015 at SEARS Family Reunion. The best gift we can give each other is the gift of TIME, you gave your best “LOVE” …stay encouraged in the LORD, GOD is with you always LOVE, Jeanette Moore”
Friday, August 27, 2021 at 2:34 PM
“So sorry for your loss Ann our condolences Kenny & Anne Thornhill”
- Kenny & Anne Thornhiill
Friday, August 27, 2021 at 2:34 PM
“Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Sam will be missed by many!”
- Don and Peggy Wunschel
Friday, August 27, 2021 at 2:34 PM
“May Uncle Jr rest in peace. May God provide comfort to all of his family members during this time of sorrow ”
- Kisha VanHolt
Wednesday, August 25, 2021 at 3:23 PM
“Uncle Sam!! You will be missed!! You have fought the good fight, well done thy good and faithful servant!! Aunt Ann, my our God give you and our family comfort during this difficult time. ”
- Ronald W. Sears
Wednesday, August 25, 2021 at 3:23 PM
“I have said many times that Sam was the best Air Force NCO the Army ever had. He was knowledgeable in so many ways and he shared that expertise unstintingly. He trained so many soldiers, and taught them not only about their military jobs, but by his gentle example about life as well. Sam was a loyal friend, caring and compassionate; you could always count on him to have your back. He touched so many lives in positive ways. Sam will be missed, but his teachings about integrity, honesty and duty will live on. We love you Annie, and are so sorry for your loss.”
- Ron and Sunny Taylor
Wednesday, August 25, 2021 at 3:23 PM
“Ann you are, and always will be my sister in law. My brother had a full life,he traveled the world and did more than most in his lifetime. I will truly miss him but I am glad the suffering is over. He is with God now, so he is ok. All my Love Iris.”
- Iris Moore
Wednesday, August 25, 2021 at 3:23 PM
“Ann, we are so sorry to learn Sam has passed. But, one cannot be sorry when we know he is right there with Jesus. I am a bit envious! We enjoyed being in the Bible study group and were saddened when it stopped. Sending you hugs from us and the Lord. Praying His perfect peace and His perfect Will for you. May He grant you comfort and peace. We love you, Gary and Linda”
- Gary and Linda Mildenstein
Wednesday, August 25, 2021 at 8:55 AM
“I got to know Sam at the American Legion. I also would stop when I saw him outside and he and I would talk about life. Sam was a wonderful man and I will miss him. Prayers to Ann and the family.”
- Emil Hiykel
Wednesday, August 25, 2021 at 8:55 AM
“God cares and He will heal all our sorrows, especially when He reclaims what belongs to Him. The prayers of Walton Grove AME Zion Church are with you doing this time of grief. ”
- Dr. Althea Riddick
Wednesday, August 25, 2021 at 8:55 AM
“Aunt Ann, I imagine your heart is heavy right now, but know that my uncle Jr's battle was fought the way he wanted and you stood by him every step of the way. We will miss him. Rest In The Peace Of Our Lord dear Uncle. All my love ,your niece Darlene Emery”
- Darlene Emery
Wednesday, August 25, 2021 at 8:55 AM
“RIP / SIP Uncle Jr Thank You for the good memories Love You”
- Eugene Sears
Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at 11:45 AM
“Our hearts are saddened at Sam's passing. He will be missed by you but you will meet again in heaven. Remember the wonderful years you had together. Hugs”
- Lynn and Loren Wittmeier
Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at 9:03 AM
“Thank you for your selfless, dedicated Service, Sam. Sam not only honorably served in uniform, he remained dedicated to all Veterans throughout his life. I was a recipient of his passion to take care of those who served. Today we can see the signs across Iowa Highway 20 now known as the Medal of Honor Highway. Sam worked doggedly on this dedication. Remember, old soldiers never die, they just fade away. Rest in peace, battle buddy. You will be missed. ”
- Susan Lawrence
Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at 9:03 AM
“Ann and family, So very sorry for your loss. Sam was true hero. Keeping you all in my prayers.”
- Valarie Wonder
Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at 9:03 AM
“Sorry for your loss. ”
- Dale. and Cindy Hinrickson
Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at 9:03 AM
“Sorry for your loss. ”
- Dale and Cindy Hinrickson
Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at 9:03 AM
“A lifetime together is never enough. We are thinking of both of you with so much love.. We will cherish the memories we have forever. We are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.Love always. Ray and Jan oxoxox
- Ray and Jan Bobrowski
Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at 9:03 AM
“What a special person Sam was, he could always make me smile He will be missed but his faith in God has shown us where is is now resting.”
- Marilyn Dose
Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at 9:03 AM
“My gosh Ann... I remember u telling me about Sam when I did your hair... WOW, that guy was really a hero.. How l man can accomplish so much in a lifetime is unreal... My deepest sympathies to U and family and take comfort knowing that he is rewarded in his heavenly home for being a true Christian... RIP Sam!!!”
Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at 9:03 AM
“I am so sorry for your loss. I will keep you and your family in my prayers!”
- Rose Brueck
Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at 9:03 AM
“Dear Uncle Jr.
May you be at peace with your new endeavor in Heaven. You have done more in your life than many can imagine. I'm so proud to have you as my uncle. May you meet up with Gramna, and Uncle Ronald in Heaven.
May your beautiful soul sleep in Peace.
Love you always.
- Yvonne Moore Niece
Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at 9:03 AM
- Dolores Sears-Horton
Monday, August 23, 2021 at 3:01 PM
“Ann and family...we are so saddened to hear of Sam's passing. Talk about a hero....Sam was one. He was always fighting for Veteran's issues and causes. We appreciated all he did for Susan and so interested in her 41 year Army career. When you hear this phrase, "Home of the Free, Because of the Brave", think of Sam. Thank you for your service and Rest in Peace. Your earthly journey is finished, so now you march in Heaven for all Eternity, continuing your service to our Lord and Savior. Blessings and love to Ann and Family, Patty Conard family”
- Patty Conard
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