Cover photo for Stephen R. Sears's Obituary
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1945 Stephen 2023

Stephen R. Sears

June 27, 1945 — August 4, 2023

Stephen R. Sears, age 78, passed away peacefully on Friday, August 4 in Rockford, Illinois. He was born to L. Wayne and Esther (Richards) Sears on June 27, 1945 in Ottawa, Kansas, a humble backdrop befitting someone best described as “a simple man who loved God.” Steve once called Kansas and Alabama home, but the red earth of Oklahoma forever won his heart. A graduate of Norman Central High School, Steve was active in several sports and found a passion for fishing and the outdoors that lasted throughout his life. Blessed with a tender, soulful voice, a song was never far from his heart. 


On April 15, 1978, Steve married the love of his life, Gayle (Dreyer) Sears. They eventually settled in Rockford, where Steve spent 35 years as a trusted insurance agent, lending his insight and discernment as a board member for Dunham and Chemung Mutual Insurance and the Northwestern Illinois Mutual Insurance Company. He also coached many teams through the Eastside Boys Club and was a beloved member of Samuelson Road Church of the Nazarene. Those who knew him will fondly remember his warm smile, cheerful laugh, and Christ-centered love.


 He is survived by his wife, Gayle; his children, Danny (Linda) Bowman, Stephanie (Mike) Rizzuto, Bonnie (Anthony) Panella, Stephen Sears, and Daniel (Kelly) Sears; his grandchildren, TJ (Liz) Wisser, Anthony Panella II, and Abigail Sears; his great-grandchildren, Riley, Caleb, and Dylan Wisser; sisters, Ann (David) Blomgren and Judith Sears; his brother, David (Bethene) Sears. Predeceased by his daughter, Dina Hurley, his parents, and his stepmother Ruth Sears. 


Visitation will be held on Sunday, August 13, from 4:00-8:00 p.m. and on Monday, August 14, at 10:00 a.m., with a funeral service at 11:00 a.m. at Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory, 1860 S. Mulford Rd., Rockford, IL 61108, followed by burial at Arlington Memorial Cemetery. Memorials may be made to Samuelson Road Church of the Nazarene. To send online condolences or share memories, please visit www.fitzgeraldfh.com

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Stephen R. Sears, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Monday, August 14, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory

1860 South Mulford Road, Rockford, IL 61108

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Monday, August 14, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory

1860 South Mulford Road, Rockford, IL 61108

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Burial

Monday, August 14, 2023

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

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