Remembering Marcia Sears

Published 10:20 am Tuesday, April 29, 2014

By FRED COOPER / Guest Columnist

My Alabama College Spanish teacher was buried last week.

She was also the wife of my boss’s boss at the AC News Bureau, the long-time editor of the Shelby County Reporter, and my friend. Marcia Sears was a woman of many parts. But in thinking about Marcia, it was impossible without also thinking about Ralph Sears, her husband, friend, colleague and teammate.

Ralph and Marcia were a perfect match. He was smooth, convivial, humorous, organized and a born leader. As my News Bureau boss, Steve Huffstutler, put it, Ralph could walk over a hundred feet placed in his path and not step on a single toe. Marcia was equal to him in so many ways but when sharper thrusts were required, she was up to that task, too. Both were highly intelligent, very social and both complemented and completed each other.

Their son, Steve’s elementary school class was a part of a children’s theater course I took. One assignment was for the kids to pantomime an activity involving preparing a dinner party. While his classmates pretended to cook, make a salad, etc., Steve was doing something with his hands. Bewildered, we asked him what he was doing. He explained that he was the butler and was pulling on his gloves and adjusting his tuxedo coat. When I told Ralph that story, he cleared his throat and changed the subject.

As a television news reporter, Sally inherited her mother’s sharp instincts, her ability to cut to the crux of a story and her father’s natural smoothness. She used both talents well.

Ralph became Montevallo’s longtime mayor, and Marcia edited the Reporter, garnering accolades for her work.

Ralph died suddenly a few years ago, and it seemed fitting that they were together when it happened. Now their family and legions of friends are mourning the loss of the remaining member of this extraordinary team that effectively guided and molded Shelby County for so many decades. But there is a consolation.

After all these years of having to be a singular force, Marcia has at last rejoined her teammate.